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being a diary kept by 


during twenty-five years' official and private 
intercourse with the great chancellor 




Copyright, 1898, 

V. 1 

Nortoooti ^rrss 

J. S. Gushing & Co. — Berwick i Smith 
Norwood Mass. U.S.A. 


The English edition of Dr. Busch's work which we pub- 
lish to-day has been translated from the original German 
text in our possession. A few passages have, however, been 
omitted as defamatory, or otherwise unsuitable for publica- 
tion. Dr. Busch contemplated incorporating bodily in the 
first volume a reproduction of his earlier work : Prince Bis- 
marck and his People during the Franco-German War^ but 
while preserving the many valuable additions which he made 
to it, we have considerably abridged such portions as would 
no longer have presented any special interest for English 



The work which I now present to the German people con- 
tains a complete^ account of all the events of which I was a 
witness during my intercourse of over twenty years with Prince 
Bismarck and his entourage. Part of it is not entirely new, as 
I have embodied in it portions of the book published by me in 
1878, under the title: Prince Bismarck and his People during 
the Franco-German War. I have, however, restored the numer- 
ous passages which it was then deemed expedient to omit, and 
I have also dispensed with the many modifications by which, 
at that time, certain asperities of language had to be toned 
down. The bulk of the present work consists of a detailed 
narrative of the whole period of my intercourse with the Prince 
both before and after the French campaign. I collected and 
noted down all these particulars respecting Prince Bismarck 
and his immediate supporters and assistants, in the first place 
for my own use, and secondly as a contribution to the character 
and history of the Political Regenerator of Germany. The sole 
object of the diary which forms the basis of this work was to 
serve as a record of the whole truth so far as I had been able 
to ascertain it with my own eyes and ears. Any other object 
was out of the question, as it was impossible that I could desire 
to deceive myself. Subsequently, when I thought of publish- 
ing my notes, I was fully conscious of my responsibility towards 
history, the interests of which could not be promoted by mate- 
rial that had been coloured or garbled for party purposes. I 
wished neither to be an eulogist nor a censor. To my mind, 
panegyric was superfluous, and fault-finding was for me an 
impossibility. A tendency to the sensational is foreign to my 
nature, and I leave the pleasure to be derived from grand spec- 

^ Strictly speaking, almost complete, as some passages must still be omitted for 
the present. 




tacular shows to lovers of the theatre. I desired to record the 
mental and other characteristics which our first Chancellor pre- 
sented to me under such and such circumstances, thus helping 
to complete, and at times to rectify, the conception of his whole 
nature that has been formed in the public mind from his politi- 
cal activity. The profound reverence which I feel for the 
genius of the hero, and my patriotic gratitude for his achieve- 
ments, have not deterred me from communicating numerous 
details which will be displeasing to many persons. These par- 
ticulars, however, are part of the historic character of the per- 
sonality whom I am describing. The gods alone are free from 
error, passion, and changes of disposition. They alone have 
no seamy side and no contradictions. Even the sun and moon 
show spots and blemishes, but notwithstanding these they re- 
main magnificent celestial orbs. The picture produced out of 
the materials which I have here brought together may present 
harsh and rough features, but it has hardly a single ignoble 
trait. Its crudeness only adds to its truth to nature, its indi- 
viduality, and its clearness of outline. This figure does not float 
in an ethereal atmosphere, it is firmly rooted in earth and 
breathes of real life, yet it conveys a sense of something super- 
human. It must furthermore be remembered that many of the 
bitter remarks, such as those made previous to March, 1890, 
were the result of temporary irritation, while others were per- 
fectly justified. The strong self-confidence manifested in some 
of these utterances, and the angry expression of that need for 
greater power and more liberty of action, common to all men of 
genius and energetic character, arose from the consciousness 
that, while he alone knew the true object to be pursued and the 
fitting means for its achievement, his knowledge could not be 
applied because the right of final decision on all occasions be- 
longed by hereditary privilege to more or less mediocre and 
narrow minds. 

I will allow the Prince himself to answer the question as to 
my authority for communicating to others without any reserve 
all that I ascertained during my intercourse with him. " Once 
I am dead you can tell everything you like, absolutely every- 
thing you know," said Prince Bismarck to me in the course of 
a conversation I had with him on the 24th of February, 1879. 
I saw clearly in the way in which he looked at me that, in 


addition to the permission I had already received on previous 
occasions, he wished that I should then consider myself entirely 
free and expressly released from certain former engagements, 
some of which had been assumed by myself, while others had 
been imposed upon me. Since then my knowledge increased 
owing to his growing confidence in me, while his authorisation 
and the desire that I should use what I knew to the advantage 
of his memory remained undiminished. On the 2ist of March, 
1 89 1, during one of my last visits to Friedrichsruh, the Prince 
— apparently prompted by a notice which he had read in the 
newspapers — remarked, ** Little Busch (Biischlein) will one 
day, long after my death, write the secret history of our time 
from the best sources of information." I answered, " Yes, 
Prince, but it will not be a history, properly speaking, as I am 
not capable of that. Nor will it be long after your death — 
which we naturally pray to be deferred as long as possible — 
but on the contrary very soon after, without any delay. In 
these corrupt times, the truth cannot be known too soon." The 
Prince made no answer, but I understood his silence to indicate 
approval. Finally, in the preceding year he had affirmed the 
absolutely unrestricted character of my authority. On the 1 5th 
of March, 1890, when the measures for his dismissal were 
already in progress, and he himself was engaged in packing up 
a variety of papers preparatory to his journey (a work in which 
I was allowed to assist him), he asked me to copy a number of 
important documents for him and to retain the originals and 
copies in my possession. On his remarking that I could get 
these documents copied, I called his attention to the fact that 
a stranger might betray their contents to third parties. He 
replied : ** Oh, I am not afraid of that ! He can if he likes ! I 
have no secrets amongst them — absolutely none.'* That state- 
ment, " I have no secrets," gave me liberty, at least for a later 
time, to publish those State papers the contents of which I had 
hitherto kept secret, as he must unquestionably have known 
better than I or the rest of the world who may have held other 
views on the subject. 

So far respecting the essential point. That he whom I 
honour as the first of men sanctioned my undertaking is entirely 
sufficient for me. I do not ask whether others give it their 
blessing. The great majority of those referred to have since 


departed from this life and taken their places in the domain of 
history, where the claim for indulgent treatment is no longer 
valid. Those who are still with us may believe me when I 
assure them that in now publishing these pages I have no 
thought of causing them pain or of injuring them in any way. 
I simply consider that I am not at liberty to preserve silence on 
those matters which may prove unpleasant to them in view both 
of my own duty to tell the whole truth, and of the desire ex- 
pressed by the Chancellor (to whom I still feel myself bound in 
obedience) that nothing should be concealed. The diplomatic 
world, in particular, must be represented here as it really is. In 
that respect this book may be described as a mirror for diplo- 

I must leave the reader to form his own opinion as to my 
capacity for observation and the discovery of the truth. I may, 
however, be allowed to say that several long journeys in Amer- 
ica and the East, a lengthy tour in Schleswig-Holstein during 
the Danish rule, undertaken for the purpose of reconnoitring 
that country, and a period of rather confidential intercourse 
with the Augustenburg Court at Kiel were calculated to sharpen 
my wits. A mission which I filled at Hanover during the year 
of transition, and, above all, my position in the Foreign Office 
in Berlin and the intimate relations in which I stood towards its 
Chief during the war with France, together with the renewal of 
that intercourse from 1877 onwards, gave me exceptional oppor- 
tunities of developing both my memory and power of observa- 
tion. For several years I was acquainted with everything that 
went on in the Central Bureau of the German Foreign Office, 
and later, in addition to what I ascertained through the confi- 
dence of the Prince, I obtained not a little information from 
Lothar Bucher which remained a secret, not only for private 
persons, but often for high officials of the Ministry. 

The diary on which my work is based, and which is often 
reproduced literally, gives the truest possible account of the 
events and expressions which I have personally seen and heard 
in the presence and immediate vicinity of the Prince. The lat- 
ter is everywhere the leading figure around which all the others 
are grouped. The task I set myself, as a close observer and 
chronicler who conscientiously sifted his facts, was to give a true 
account of what I had been commissioned to do as the Prince's 


Secretary in connection with press matters, and to describe how 
he and his entourage conducted themselves during the campaign 
in France, how he lived and worked, the opinions he expressed 
at the dinner and tea table, and on other occasions, respecting 
persons and things of that time, what he related of his past 
experiences, and finally, after our return from the great war, 
what I ascertained respecting the progress of diplomatic nego- 
tiations from the despatches which were then exchanged and of 
which I was at liberty to make use either immediately or at a 
later period. I was assisted in the fulfilment of this task by my 
faculty of concentration, which my reverence for the Prince and 
the practice which I had in the course of my official duties ren- 
dered gradually more intense, and by a memory which, although 
not naturally above the average, was also developed by constant 
exercise to such a degree that in a short time it enabled me to 
retain all the main points of long explanations and stories, both 
serious and humorous, from the Chancellor's lips almost liter- 
ally, until such time as I could commit them to paper — that is 
to say, unless anything special intervened, a mishap which I 
was usually able to avert. The particulars here given were 
accordingly, almost without exception, written down within an 
hour after the conversations therein referred to occurred. For 
the most part they were jotted down immediately on small slips 
of paper, only the points and principal catchwords being noted, 
but which made it easy, however, to complete the whole entry 
later on. 

This sharp ear and faithful memory, joined with a quick 
eye, stood me in good stead in the years of welcome service 
which I undertook as a private individual for the Prince. To 
these and to the habit of putting all that I had experienced, 
seen, and heard in black on white without delay, I owe the 
accurate accounts of the memorable conversation of the nth of 
April, 1877, of the visit to Varzin and the statements made by 
the Chancellor on that occasion, as well as the long list of de- 
tailed reports of pregnant and characteristic conversations that 
I had with him from the year 1878 up to 1890 in the palace and 
garden at Berlin when, at times of crisis or under other circum- 
stances, I was either invited by the Prince or called on him 
without invitation for the purpose of obtaining news for the 
Grenzboten or foreign newspapers. I kept up the same habit 


of committing everything of moment to paper during my vari- 
ous visits of shorter or longer duration between the years 1883 
and 1889 to Friedrichsruh, where, in the year last mentioned, I 
was engaged for several weeks in arranging the Prince's private 
letters and other documents. This custom also served me well 
in that ever memorable week in March, 1890, when I spent 
some of the darkest days of that period in the Prince's imme- 
diate vicinity, nor did it fail me when I again greeted him in 
the Sachsenwald in 1891 and 1893, and was able to convince 
myself that in the interval his confidence in me had as little 
diminished as had my loyalty towards him. 

Whoever is familiar with the style in which the Prince was 
accustomed to express his thoughts when in the company of 
his intimate associates will be at once impressed with the 
genuineness of the instructions, conversations, and anecdotes 
communicated in the following pages. He will find them 
almost without exception literally reproduced. In the anecdotes 
and stories, in particular, he will nearly always observe the 
characteristic ellipses, the unexpressed pre-suppositions, and the 
manner in which the Prince was apt to jump from point to 
point in his narratives, reminding one of the style of the old 
ballads. He will also at times note a humorous vein running 
through the Prince's remarks and frequently become conscious 
of a thread of semi-nafve self-irony. All these features were 
characteristic of the Chancellor's manner of speaking. It is 
therefore hardly necessary for me to add that my reports, with 
all their roughness and sturdy ruggedness, are photographs 
that have not been retouched. In other words, I believe that I 
have not only been quick to observe, but I also feel that I have 
not intentionally omitted anything that was worth reproducing. 
I have neither blurred any features nor brought others into too 
sharp relief. I have put in no high lights, and above all I have 
added nothing of my own, nor tried to secure a place in history 
for my own wisdom by palming it off as Bismarck's. Any 
omissions that now remain (there can hardly be more than a 
dozen in all of any importance) are indicated by dots or dashes. 
In cases where I have not quite understood a speaker, attention 
is called to the fact. Should any contradiction be discovered 
between earlier and later statements, my memory must not be 
held responsible for them. If I am blamed for the fragmentary 


character of my recital, then all memoirs must be rejected. If 
I am reproached with not having produced a work of art, I 
believe I have already made it sufficiently clear that I never 
intended anything of the kind. I desired, on the contrary, so 
far as it was in my power, to serve the truth and that alone. 
Nevertheless, my work may not only be utilised by historians, 
but may also possibly inspire a dramatist or a poet. Such a 
writer must, however, be no sentimentalist, and no idealist. It 
would be wise for him and for others to let themselves be 
guided by some counsels of experience which will be useful as 
a warning against certain misunderstandings both as to the 
sources of my information and the degree of my credulity. 
These counsels have always been present to my mind, although, 
perhaps, through a sense of politeness towards the public, or 
even, it may be, a real confidence in their common sense, I 
have rarely thought it necessary to call attention to the fact. 
This advice I propose to repeat here in a general form and 
without any special application. In the first place, then, there 
are people who sometimes really believe that they have actually 
said or done that which it was their duty to say or do in certain 
circumstances. Others, again, frequently leave their hearers 
to judge whether their remarks are meant to be sarcastic or 
serious. Furthermore, inter pocula and in foraging for news, 
the meanings of words must not be taken in altogether too 
literal a sense, if one does not wish to make a fool of himself. 
Although truth may be found in the bowl, it usually contains 
more alcohol than accuracy; and the scribblers of the press 
very often thoughtlessly accept appearances for realities when 
they come from "well-informed circles." Finally, even those 
who wilfully mislead serve the truth in so far as they enable 
the experienced to detect their falsehood. 

A good deal of what I report and describe will appear to 
many persons trivial and external. My view of the matter, 
however, is this : The trifles with which the praetor does not 
trouble himself often illustrate the character of a man or his 
temper for the time being more clearly than fine speeches or 
great exploits. Now and then very unimportant occurrences 
and situations have been, as it were, the spark which lit up the 
mind and revealed a whole train of new and fruitful ideas preg- 
nant with great consequences. In this connection I may recall 


the accidental, and apparently insignificant, origin of many 
epoch-making inventions and discoveries, such as the fall of an 
apple from a tree that gave Newton the first impulse towards 
his theory of gravitation, the greatest discovery of the eigh- 
teenth century ; the steam from the boiling kettle which raised 
its lid and ultimately led to the transformation of the world by 
the locomotive ; the brilliant reflection of the sun on a tin vessel 
which transported Jacob Boehme into a transcendental vision ; 
and the spot of grease upon our tablecloth at Ferri^res which 
formed the starting-point of one of Prince Bismarck's most re- 
markable conversations. The morning hours affect nervous 
constitutions differently to the evening, and changes of weather 
depress or raise the spirits of persons subject to rheumatism. 
Indeed, it must be remembered that learned theories have been 
formed which, expressed in a plain and direct way, amount 
roughly to this — that a man is what he eats. However odd 
that may sound, we really cannot say how far such ideas are 
wrong. Finally, it appears to me that everything is of interest 
and should receive attention which has any relation to the promi- 
nent central figure of the great movement which resulted in the 
political regeneration of our country — to that powerful person- 
ality who, like the angel mentioned in the Scriptures, stirred 
the stagnant pool, and gave health and life after the lethargy 
and decay of centuries. I followed the Chancellor's career 
with the eyes of a future generation. At great epochs trifles 
appear smaller than they actually are. In later decades and 
centuries the contrary is the case. The great events of the 
past bulk still larger in men's minds, while things which were 
regarded as unimportant become full of significance. It is then 
often a matter for regret that it is impossible to form as clear 
and lifelike a picture of a personality or an event as one could 
wish for want of valuable material originally cast aside as of no 
account. There was no eye to see and no hand to collect and 
preserve those materials while it was yet time. Who would 
not now be glad to have fuller details respecting Luther in the 
great days and hours of his life } 

In a hundred years the memory of Prince Bismarck will 
take a place in the minds of our people next to that occupied 
by the Wittenberg doctor. The liberator of our political life 
from dependence upon foreigners will stand by the side of the 



reformer who freed our consciences from the oppression of 
Rome — the founder of the German State by the side of him 
who created German Christianity. Our Chancellor already holds 
this place in the hearts of many of his countrymen; his portrait 
adorns their walls, and they inspire the growing generation 
with the reverence which they themselves feel. These will be 
followed by the masses, and therefore I imagine I may safely 
take the risk of being told that I have preserved, not only the 
pearls, but also the shells in which they were found. 

Many of the Chancellor's expressions respecting the French 
may be regarded as unfair and even occasionally inhuman. It 
must not be forgotten, however, that ordinary warfare is calcu- 
lated to harden the feelings, and that Gambetta's suicidal cam- 
paign, conducted with all the passionate ardour of his nature, 
the treacherous tactics of his franctireurs, and the bestiality of 
his Turcos, was bound to raise a spirit in our camp in which 
leniency and consideration could have no part. Of course, in 
reproducing and in adding other and still more bitter instances 
of this feeling, now that all these things have long ago passed 
away, there can be no intention to hurt any one's feelings. They 
are merely vivid contributions to the history of the campaign, 
denoting the momentary temper of the Chancellor, who was at 
that time sorely tried and deeply wounded by these and okher 

I trust my reasons for including a number of newspaper 
articles will commend themselves to the reader. I do so in the 
first place to show the gradual development and change which 
certain political ideas underwent, and the forms which they as- 
sumed at various times. Furthermore, the greater part of them 
were directly inspired by Prince Bismarck, and some were even 
dictated by him. By mentioning the latter articles I hope to 
do the newspapers in question a pleasure in so far as they will 
now learn that they once had the honour of having the most 
eminent statesman of the century as a contributor. All these 
articles furnish material for forming an opinion upon the jour- 
nalistic activity of the Prince, which hitherto only Wagener of 
the Kreiizzeitung, Zitelman, the Prince's amanuensis during the 
years he spent as Ambassador at Frankfort, and Lothar Bucher 
were in a position to do. On the 22nd of January, 1871, the 
Chancellor himself remarked, referring to the importance of the 


press for historians : " One learns more from the newspapers 
than from official despatches, as, of course. Governments use 
the press in order frequently to say more clearly what they 
really mean. One must, however, know all about the connec- 
tions of the different papers." This knowledge will in great 
part be found in the present work. 

The reason for reproducing certain portions of my previous 
writings in this book is that they are essential for the purpose 
of completing the character portrait given in the diary. With- 
out them it would be deficient in some parts, and unintelligible 
in others. The reproductions referred to are in almost every 
instance considerably altered and supplemented with additional 
matter, and they now occupy a more suitable position in the 
work than before. 

Leipzig, July 30, 1898. 





My Appointment as an Official in the Foreign Office, and my First Audi- 
ence with Bismarck — Work and Observations up to the Outbreak 
of the War with France ........ r 


Departure of the Chancellor for the Seat of War — I follow him, at first 
to Saarbrueck — Journey from there to the French Frontier — The 
Foreign Office Flying Column 48 

From the Frontier to Gravelotte 57 

Commercy — Bar le Due — Clermont en Argonne .... 77 


We turn towards the North — The Chancellor of the Confederation at 

Rezonville — The Battle and Battlefield of Beaumont ... 94 

Sedan — Bismarck and Napoleon at Doncheiy 106 

From the Meuse to the Marne 122 


Bismarck and Favre at Haute-Maison — A Fortnight in Rothschild's 

Chateau ........... 143 





The Journey to Versailles — Madame Jesse's House, and our Life there 170 

Autumn Days at Versailles 176 

Thiers and the First Negotiations for an Armistice at Versailles . . 205 

Growing Desire for a Decision in Various Directions .... 232 


Removal of the Anxiety respecting the Bavarian Treaty in the Reichs- 
tag — The Bombardment further postponed 247 

The Prospects outside Paris improve 279 


Chaudordy and the Truth — Officers of Bad Faith — French Garbling . 
— The Crown Prince dines with the Chief 294 

First Week of the Bombardment 321 

Last Weeks before the Capitulation of Paris 346 

During the Negotiations respecting the Capitulation of Paris . . 370 


From Gambetta's Resignation to the Conclusion of the Preliminaries of 

Peace 415 




No. 76 Wilhelmstrasse — The Chancellor's Residence and the Foreign 
Office — The Chiefs Official Surroundings and his Life at Home — 
Bucher and Abeken 424 


From our Return from the War up to the Temporary Discontinuance of 
my Personal Intercourse with the Chancellor — Glimpses of the 
Diplomatic World — Commissions for the Press . . . -455 



Portrait of Prince Bismarck 

From a photograph taken in 1885. 

At Friedrichsruh . . . . 
A Portrait of Prince Bismarck . 


Facing page 166 

" 334 




On February ist, 1870, while living in Leipzig and engaged 
in literary work, I received — quite unexpectedly — from Dr. 
Metzler, Secretary in the Foreign Office of the North German 
Confederation, who was at that time occupied principally with 
Press matters and with whom I had been in communication 
since 1867, a short note requesting me to come to Berlin in 
order to have a talk with him. On my arrival I ascertained, to 
my great surprise, that Dr. Metzler had recommended me to 
Herr von Keudell, Councillor of Embassy, who was then in 
charge of personal and finance matters in the Foreign Office, 
for a confidential position under the Chancellor of the Confed- 
eration, which he, Metzler himself, had previously held, and in 
which my chief duty would be to carry out the instructions of 
the Chancellor in Press matters. I was to be in immediate 
communication with the Chancellor. My position for the time 
being would be what was called *' diatarisch," that is to say 
without any claim to a pension and without a title. Further 
details were to be arranged with Herr von Keudell on his 
return from his honeymoon. For the moment I was only 
required to declare my readiness in general to accept the offer, 
and later on I was to formulate my wishes and lay them in 
writing before Herr von Keudell. 

This I did in a letter dated February 4th, in which I empha- 
sised as the most important condition that I should be entirely 

VOL. I. — B I 


independent of the Literary or Press Bureau, and that if my 
capacity for the position should not prove equal to the expecta- 
tions formed of it I should not be appointed an official in that 
department. On February 19th I heard from Metzler that my 
conditions had been in the main agreed to, and that no objec- 
tions had been raised with regard to that respecting the Liter- 
ary Bureau. I was to discuss the further arrangements with 
Keudell himself, and to be prepared to enter upon my duties at 
once. On February 21st I had a satisfactory interview with 
the latter, in the course of which we came to an understanding 
as to terms. On the 23d I was informed by Keudell that the 
Chancellor had agreed to my conditions, and that he had 
arranged for me to call upon Bismarck on the following even- 
ing. Next day I took the official oath, and on the same 
evening, shortly after 8 o'clock, I found myself in the presence 
of the Chancellor, whom I had only seen at a distance once 
before, namely, from the Press Gallery of the Reichstag. Now, 
two years later, I saw him again as he sat in a military uniform 
at his writing table with a bundle of documents before him. 
I was quite close to him this time, and felt as if I stood before 
the altar. 

He gave me his hand, and motioned me to take a seat 
opposite him. He began by saying that although he desired 
to have a talk with me, he must for the moment content him- 
self with just making my acquaintance, as he had very little 
time to spare. "I have been kept in the Reichstag to-day 
longer than I expected by a number of lengthy and tiresome 
speeches ; then I have here (pointing to the documents before 
him) despatches to read, also as a rule not very amusing ; and 
at 9 o'clock I must go to the Palace, and that is not particularly 
entertaining either. What have you been doing up to the 
present .? " I replied that I had edited the Grenzboten, an organ 
of practically National Liberal views, which I left, however, on 
one of the proprietors showing a disposition to adopt a Pro- 
gressist policy on the Schleswig-Holstein question. The Chan- 
cellor: "Yes, I know that paper." I then went on to say that 
I had at the instance of the Government taken a position at 
Hanover, where I assisted the Civil Commissioner, Herr von 
Hardenberg, in representing Prussian interests in the local 
press during the year of transition. I had subsequently, on 


instructions received from the Foreign Office, written a number 
of articles for different political journals, amongst others for 
the Preiissische Jahrbnecher, to which I had also previously 
contributed. Bismarck : " Then you understand our politics 
and the German question in particular. I intend to get you to 
write notes and articles for the papers from such particulars 
and instructions as I may give you, for of course I cannot my- 
self write leaders. You will also arrange for others doing so. 
At first these will naturally be by way of trial. I must have 
some one especially for this purpose, and not merely occasional 
assistance as at present, especially as I also receive very little 
useful help from the Literary Bureau. But how long do you 
remain here ? " and as he looked at his watch I thought he 
desired to bring the conversation to a close. I replied that I 
had arranged to remain in Berlin. Bismarck : *' Ah, very well 
then, I shall have a long talk with you one of these days. In 
the meantime see Herr von Keudell, and also Herr Bucher, 
Councillor of Embassy, who is well acquainted with all these 
matters." I understood that I was now at liberty to go, and 
was about to rise from my seat when the Chancellor said : ** Of 
course you know the question which was before the House to- 
day V I replied in the negative, explaining that I had been 
too busy to read the reports in the newspapers. "Well," he 
said, " it was respecting the admission of Baden into the North 
German Confederation. It is a pity that people cannot man- 
age to wait, and that they treat everything from a party stand- 
point, and as furnishing opportunities for speech-making. 
Disagreeable business to have to answer such speeches, not to 
say such twaddle ! These eloquent gentlemen are really like 
ladies with small feet. They force them into shoes that are 
too tight for them, and push them under our noses on all 
occasions in order that we may admire them. It is just the 
same with a man who has the misfortune to be eloquent. He 
speaks too often and too long. The question of German unity 
is making good progress ; but it requires time — one year per- 
haps, or five, or indeed possibly even ten years. I cannot make 
it go any faster, nor can these gentlemen either. But they 
have no patience to wait." With these words he rose, and 
again shaking hands I took leave of him for the time. 

I was thus enlisted in the ranks of Bismarck's fellow work- 


ers. An opportunity for the general instructions which he pro- 
posed to give me never occurred. I had to enter upon my work 
at once. Next evening I was twice called in to him to receive 
instructions for articles. Later on I sometimes saw him still 
more frequently, and occasionally in the forenoon also — now 
and then as often as five or even eight times in one day. At 
these interviews I had to take good care to keep my ears well 
open, and to note everything with the closest attention, so that 
two pieces of information or two sets of instructions should not 
get mixed up. However, I soon found myself equal to this 
unusually trying task, as Bismarck's opinions and instructions 
were always given in a striking form, which it was easy to re- 
member. Besides, he was accustomed to repeat his principal 
points in other words. Then, again, I made myself all ears, so 
that, through practice, I gradually succeeded in retaining long 
sentences, and even whole speeches, practically without omis- 
sions, until I had an opportunity of committing them to paper. 
Bismarck used also to send me, by one of the messengers, docu- 
ments and newspapers marked with the letter V and a cross, 
signs which indicated *' Press Instructions." When I found 
such papers on my desk, I looked them through, and subse- 
quently obtained the Chancellor's directions with regard to them. 
Furthermore, when I had anything of importance to ask or to 
submit for his approval, I was allowed to call upon him without 
previous invitation. I thus practically occupied the position of 
a " Vortragender Rath " {i.e., an official having direct access to 
the Chancellor), excepting only that I had neither the title nor 
the sense of infallibility common to all such Councillors. 

The newspapers to which the articles thus prepared were 
supplied were the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeittmg, then edited 
by Brass, which was the semi-official organ, properly speaking ; 
the Spenersche Zeitung^ and the Neiie Preussiscke Zeitimg. I 
also frequently sent letters to the Koelnische Zeittmg^ expressing 
the Chancellor's views. During the first months of my appoint- 
ment, Metzler, who had previously contributed to that paper, 
served as the medium for communicating these articles. Subse- 
quently they were sent direct to the editor, and were always 
accepted without alteration. In addition to this work I saw one 
of the writers from the Literary Bureau every forenoon, and 
gave him material which was sent to the Magdebicrger Z&itung 


and some of the smaller newspapers ; while other members of 
his department furnished portions of it to certain Silesian, East 
Prussian, and South German organs. I had similar weekly 
interviews with other, and somewhat more independent, writers. 
Amongst these I may mention Dr. Bock, who supplied articles 
to the Aiigsbtirger Allgemeine Zeitungy and a number of papers 
in Hanover ; Professor Constantine Roeszler, formerly Lecturer 
at Jena, who subsequently assisted Richthofen at Hamburg and 
afterwards edited the Staatsanzeiger ; and finally Herr Heide, 
who had previously been a missionary in Australia and was at 
that time working for the North German Correspondence ^ which 
had been founded with a view to influencing the English 

In addition to this my duties also included the reading of 
masses of German, Austrian, and French newspapers, which 
were laid upon my table three times daily, and the management 
and purchase of books for the Ministerial Library. It will 
therefore be easily understood that while the Chancellor re- 
mained in Berlin I had more than enough to attend to. I was 
engaged not only on week-days, but also on Sundays, from 9 
in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and again from 5 till 
10 and sometimes 11 o'clock at night. Indeed, it sometimes 
occurred that a messenger from the Chancellor came at midnight 
to call me away from a party of friends or out of my bed in 
order to receive pressing instructions. 

I reproduce here in the form in which they appear in my 
diary the particulars of a number of more or less characteristic 
statements and instructions which I received from the Chancellor 
at that period. They show that the statesman whom I had the 
honour to serve thoroughly understood the business of journalism, 
and they further throw a welcome light upon many of the politi- 
cal events of that time. 

Some days after the debate in the Reichstag respecting the 
entrance of Baden into the North German Confederation, to 
which reference has already been made, and while the matter 
was still occupying both the attention of the Press and of the 
Chancellor, I find the following entry among my notes : — 

February 2(^th, evening. — Called to see the Minister. I am 
to direct special attention to the nonsense written by the National 
Liberal Press on the last sitting of the Reichstag. The Chan- 


cellor said : " The National Liberals are not a united party. 
They are merely two fractions. Amongst their leaders Bennig- 
sen and Forkenbeck are sensible men, and there are also a 
couple of others. Miguel is inclined to be theatrical. Loewe, 
with his deep chest notes, does everything for effect. He has 
not made a single practical remark. Lasker is effective in 
destructive criticism, but is no politician. It sounded very odd 
to hear him declare that they were now too much occupied with 
Rome in Paris and Vienna to interfere with us in connection 
with the Baden affair. If it were possible to get those of really 
Progressist views to act independently, it would make the situ- 
ation much clearer. Friedenthal's speech was excellent. I 
must ask you also to emphasise the following points : — i. The 
unfairness of the National Zeitung in repeating misunderstand- 
ings which I explained and disposed of in my speech. 2. The 
make-believe support given to my policy by men who were 
elected for the express purpose of rendering me real assistance. 
3. That such politicians either cannot see or intentionally over- 
look my principal motive, viz., that to admit Baden into the Con- 
federation would bring pressure to bear upon Bavaria, and that 
it is therefore a hazardous step. Attention should be paid to 
the situation in France, so that nothing should be done which 
might endanger the Constitutional evolution of that country, an 
evolution hitherto promoted in every way from Berlin, as it sig- 
nifies peace for us. The French Arcadians" (the party that 
supported Napoleon through thick and thin) " are watching the 
course of events in Germany, and waiting their opportunity. 
Napoleon is now well disposed to us, but he is very changeable. 
We could now fight France and beat her too, but that war would 
give rise to five or six others ; and while we can gain our ends 
by peaceful means, it would be foolish, if not criminal, to take 
such a course. Events in France may take a warlike or revolu- 
tionary turn, which would render the present brittle metal there 
more malleable. There was an important point in my speech, 
which, however, these good people failed to recognise. That 
was the intimation that in certain circumstances we should pay 
no regard either to the views of Austria respecting South Ger- 
many as a whole, nor to those of France, who objected to the 
admission of any single South German State into the North 
German Confederation. That was a feeler. Further measures 


can only be considered when I know how that hint has been 
received in Vienna and Paris." 

March \st. — Count Bismarck wishes me to get the following 
inserted in the South German newspapers : — " The speech of 
von Freydorf, the Grand Ducal Minister, in the Baden Diet on 
the Jurisdiction Treaty with the North German Confederation, 
has been inspired by an absolutely correct view of the situation. 
Particular attention should be paid to that portion in which the 
Foreign Minister of the Grand Duchy declared the policy of 
Baden to be in perfect accord with that of the Chancellor of 
the North German Confederation, and also to the manner in 
which he defined the position of the South German States 
towards the Treaty of Prague. Through the dissolution of the 
old Germanic Confederacy, those States have, as a matter of 
fact, become sovereign States. That Treaty gives them liberty 
(to me : — Underline those words ! ) to form a new union 
amongst themselves, a South German Confederation, by means 
of which they may take measures for bringing about a national 
union with the united North. That Treaty involves no pre- 
scription, engagement, or compulsion whatever to adopt such a 
course. Any insinuation of that kind with respect to States 
whose sovereignty has been emphatically recognised would be 
something absolutely unheard of. In the Swiss war of the 
Sonderbund, and also in the late American civil war. States 
were obliged against their own will to remain within a union 
which they had previously joined, but no one ever saw a 
sovereign State or Prince required to enter into Confederation 
against their own judgment. The South German States, in- 
cluding half of Hesse, have unquestionably the right — acting 
either in concert or singly — to endeavour, in cooperation with 
the North, to advance the cause of national unity. The ques- 
tion is whether the present is a good time to choose. The 
Chancellor of the North German Confederation answers this 
question in the negative. But it is only possible by the most 
wilful garbling of his expressions to maintain that his final aim 

Lis not the union of Germany. Partition of German national 
territory! Calumny! Not a single word of the Chancellor's 
justifies that conclusion. As Herr Lasker has not spoken at 
the instance of the Government of Baden, although his speech 
would almost convey the impression that he was a Minister of 



that State, it is difficult to understand where he got that idea. 
Perhaps it was merely the conceit of the honourable Member 
that led him to make such a statement." 

March 2>rd. — The Minister wishes the Koelnische Zeitung 
first, and afterwards the South German newspapers, to advocate 
the organisation into one great party of all men of national 
views in the South German States, so as to get rid of the 
particularism which had hitherto divided them. " The matter 
lies much more in their hands," he said, *'than in those of the 
North German National Liberals. The North German Govern- 
ments will do all that is possible in a reasonable way in support 
of the efforts of South Germany. But the South Germans who 
wish to unite with us must act together and not singly. I want 
you to reiterate this point again and again. The article must 
then be printed in the Speitersche Zeitung and in other news- 
papers to which we have access, and it should be accompanied 
by expressions of deep regret at the particularism which pre- 
vents the union of the various Southern parties that gravitate 
towards North Germany. A union of the four Southern States 
is an impossibility, but there is nothing to hinder the formation 
of a Southern League composed of men of national sentiments. 
The National party in Baden, the German party in Wiirtem- 
berg, and the Bavarian Progressist party are merely different 
names for the same thing. These groups have to deal with 
different Governments, and some persons maintain that they 
must consequently adopt different tactics. Their aims are 
nevertheless identical in all important points. With the best 
will in the world those three parties, while acting singly, pro- 
duce but a slight impression. If they desire to go ahead and 
become an important factor in public affairs, they must combine 
to form a great and homogeneous South German National 
party which must be reckoned with on both sides of the Main." 

Read over to the Minister, at his request, an article which 
he ordered yesterday and for which he gave me the leading 
ideas. It was to be dated from Paris, and published in the 
Koelnische Zeitung. He said : " Yes, you have correctly ex- 
pressed my meaning. The composition is good both as regards 
its reasoning and the facts which it contains. But no French- 
man thinks in such logical and well-ordered fashion, yet the 
letter is understood to be written by a Frenchman. It must 


contain more gossip, and you must pass more lightly from 
point to point. In doing so you must adopt an altogether 
French standpoint. A Liberal Parisian writes the letter and 
gives his opinion as to the position of his party towards the 
German question, expressing himself in the manner usual in 
statements of that kind." (Finally Count Bismarck dictated 
the greater part of the article, which was forwarded by Metzler 
in its altered form to the Rhenish newspaper.) 

In connection with this task the Minister said to me the day 
before : — "I look at the matter in this way. A correspondent 
in Paris must give his opinion of my quarrel with Lasker and 
the others over the Baden question, and bring forward argu- 
ments which I did not think it desirable to use at that time. 
He must say that no one could deem it advisable in the present 
state of affairs in Bavaria, when the King seems to be so well 
disposed, to do anything calculated on the one hand to irritate 
him, and on the other to disturb the Constitutional movement 
in France — which movement tended to preserve peace while 
it would itself be promoted by the maintenance of peace. Those 
who desire to advance the cause of liberty do not wish to go to 
war with us, yet they could not swim against the stream if we 
took any action in South Germany which public opinion would 
regard as detrimental to the interests and prestige of France. 
Moreover, for the present the course of the Vatican Council 
should not be interfered with, as the result for Germany might 
possibly be a diversion. We must wait for these things," he 
added. "I cannot explain that to them. If they were poli- 
ticians they would see it for themselves. There are reasons 
for forbearance which every one should be able to recognise; 
but Members of Parliament who cross-question the Government 
do not usually regard that as their duty." 

The second portion of the article which the Minister dictated 
runs as follows : — " Whoever has had an opportunity of ob- 
serving here in Paris how difficult the birth of the present 
Constitutional movement has been, what obstacles this latest 
development of French political life has to overcome if it is to 
strike deep roots, and how powerful are the influences of which 

I the guiding spirit only awaits some pretext for smothering the 
infant in its cradle, will understand with what anxiety we watch 
the horizon abroad and what a profoundly depressing effect 


every little cloud there produces upon our hopes of a secure 
and peaceful development of the new regime. It is the ardent 
wish of every sincere adherent of the Constitutional cause in 
France that there should now be no diversion abroad, no change 
on the horizon of foreign politics, which might serve, if not as a 
real motive, at least as a pretext for crying down the youthful 
Constitutionalism of France, while at the same time directing 
public attention to foreign relations. We believe that the 
Emperor is in earnest, but his immediate entourage, and the 
creatures whom he has to employ, are watching anxiously for 
some event which shall enable them to compel the Sovereign to 
abandon a course which they resent. The people are very 
numerous, and have during the eighteen years of the Emperor's 
reign grown more powerful than is perhaps believed outside 
France. Whoever has any regard for the Constitutional de- 
velopment of the country can only hope that no alteration, how- 
ever slight, shall occur in the foreign relations of France to serve 
as a motive or pretext for that reaction which every opponent 
of the Constitution is striving to bring about." 

Between the directions for these articles, which I here bring 
together as they relate to the same subject, I received others, 
some of which I may also reproduce. 

March /^th. — The Boersen Zeitung contained an article in 
which it was alleged that in Germany only nobles were con- 
sidered competent to become Ministers. This the Count sent 
down to me to be refuted in a short article, expressing surprise 
at such a statement. " An absurd electioneering move ! " the 
Chancellor said. "Whoever wishes to persuade the world that 
in Prussia the position of Minister is only open to the aristocracy, 
and that capable commoners have absolutely no chance of at- 
taining to it, must have no memory and no eyes. Say that 
under Count Bismarck no less than three commoners have, on 
his recommendation, been appointed Ministers within a short 
period, namely Delbrueck, Leonhard, and Camphausen. Lasker, 
it is true, has not yet been appointed." 

I wrote this short article immediately ; but the Chancellor 
was not pleased with it. ** I told you expressly," he said, " to 
mention the names of Delbrueck, Leonhard, and Camphausen, 
and that their appointments were due to my personal influence. 
Go straight to the point, and don't wander round about it in 


that way ! That is no use ! A pointless article ! They are 
just the cleverest of the present Ministers. The attack on 
Lasker is also out of place. We must not provoke people un- 
necessarily. They are right when they complain of bullying." 
The reference to Lasker consisted merely in his own words as 
given above. 

March ^th. — The Vossische Zei tun^ containQd a bitter attack, 
which culminated in the following remark : — " Exceptional cir- 
cumstances — and such must be acknowledged to exist when 
working-men are treated to breech-loaders, and Ministers are 
hanged on street lamps — cannot be taken as a rule for the 
regular conduct of affairs." The Count received this article 
from the Literary Bureau of the Ministry of State (where ex- 
tracts from the newspapers were made for him), although it 
might well have been withheld, as not much importance attaches 
to the scoldings of "Tante Voss." The Count sent for me, read 
over the passage in question, and observed : — " They speak of 
times when Ministers were hanged on street lamps. Unworthy 
language ! Reply that such a thing never occurred in Prussia, 
and that there is no prospect of its occurring. In the mean- 
time it shows towards what condition of affairs the efforts of 
that newspaper are tending, which (under the auspices of Jacoby 
and Company) supplies the Progressist middle classes of Berlin 
with their politics." 

Called in again later to the Count. I am to go to Geheim- 
rath Hahn and call his attention to the question of capital pun- 
ishment, which in view of the approaching elections should be 
dealt with in the Provincial-Correspondenz in accordance with 
the policy of the Government, who desire its retention. The 
Minister said : — "I am firmly convinced that the majority 
of the population is opposed to its abolition. Were it other- 
wise it would of course be possible to do away with it. It is 
a mere theory — the sentimentality of lawyers in the Reichstag 
— a party doctrine which has no connection with the life of the 
people, although its advocates are constantly referring to the 
people. Tell him that, but be cautious in dealing with him. 
He is somewhat conceited — bureaucratic. Do it in a diplomatic 
way. You must let him think that those are his own ideas. 
Otherwise we shall not get anything useful out of him. Let 
me know afterwards what he says." 


March 6th. — Have seen Hahn. He is of opinion that it is 
yet too early to deal with this matter. It will probably end 
in a compromise, capital punishment being only retained for 
murder. The attitude of the Liberals in the elections can 
only be influenced after the decision in the Reichstag. In 
the meantime he has instructed the Literary Bureau to refute the 
article in the National Zeitungy and to show how sterile the 
present Parliament would be if it allowed the long-wished-for 
Criminal Code to be wrecked upon this question of capital pun- 
ishment. Report this to the Minister. He is of opinion that 
Hahn is mistaken. " It is necessary to act in a diplomatic way 
in this case," he observed. " One must present an appearance 
of determination up to the last moment; and if one wants 
to secure a suitable compromise, show no disposition to give 
way ; besides, Hahn must have no other policy than mine. I 
shall speak to Eulenberg, and get him to set Hahn straight. 
This must be put down at once. We must think in good time 
about the elections." 

March yth. — Sent Brass {Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeittmg) 
an article written by Bucher under instructions from the Min- 
ister, showing that the majority in the Reichstag does not repre- 
sent public opinion nor the will of the people, but only the 
opinions and desires of the Parliamentary party. 

Called to the Count in the evening, when he said : — ** I 
want you to secure the insertion in the press of an article 
somewhat to the following effect : — For some time past vague 
rumours of war have been current throughout the world for 
which no sufficient ground exists in fact, or can be even sug- 
gested. The explanation is probably to be sought in Stock 
Exchange speculation for a fall which has been started in Paris. 
Confidential whispers are going about with regard to the pres- 
ence of Archduke Albrecht in the French capital which are cal- 
culated to cause uneasiness ; and then, naturally enough, these 
rumours are shouted aloud and multiplied by the windbags of 
the Guelph press." 

March nth. — The Count wants an article in the National 
Zeitung to be answered in this sense : — " The Liberals in 
Parliament always identify themselves with the people. They 
maintain, like Louis XIV. with his U^tatc'est moi, that 'We 
are the People.' There could hardly be a more absurd piece 


of boasting and exaggeration. As if the other representatives, 
the Conservatives in the country, and the great numbers who 
belong to no party, were not also part of the nation, and 
had no opinions and interests to which regard should be 
paid ! " 

Evening. — The Minister, referring to a statement in the 
Norddeiitsche Allgemeitie Zeitung^ remarked : — " There is much 
ado about the decided attitude taken up by Beust against the 
Curia. According to the report pubHshed by Brass he has 
expressed himself very emphatically respecting its latest action, 
in a note which the Ambassador read to the Secretary of State. 
That must be refuted, weakened. Do it in a letter from Rome 
to the Koebiische Zeittmg. Say : — * We do not know if the 
analysis of the despatch in question (which has made the round 
of the papers, and which was first published by the Times) is 
correct,^ but we have reason to doubt it. Trautmansdorf (the 
Austrian Ambassador to the Holy See) has read no note and 
has received no instructions to make any positive declaration, 
but is on the contrary acting in accordance with his own con- 
victions — and it is known that he is very clerical and not at all 
disposed to radical measures. He has communicated to Car- 
dinal Antonelli such parts of the information that reached him 
from Vienna as he thought proper, and he certainly made that 
communication in as considerate a form as possible. It cannot 
therefore have been very emphatic." 

Later. — Attention is to be directed, at first in a paper 
which has no connection with the Government, to the prolonged 
sojourn of Archduke Albrecht in Paris as a suspicious symptom. 
In connection with it rumours have been circulated in London 
of an understanding between France and Austria. Our papers 
should afterwards reproduce these hints. 

March 12th. — In the afternoon Bucher gave me the chief's 
instructions to order the Spanish newspaper, Imparcial. (This 
is of some importance, as it doubtless indicates that even then 
we had a hand in the question of electing the new king. On 

^ The despatch was understood to contain a sentence to the effect that Rome 
should take care not to challenge Europe, and that whatever the Church might say, 
the Austrian Courts of Justice would not allow themselves to be influenced into 
according any indulgence towards those who broke the laws or instigated others to 
do so. 


several occasions subsequently I secured the insertion in non- 
official German papers of translations which Bucher brought 
me of articles in that newspaper against the candidature of 

March \ith. — The Chancellor wishes to have it said in one 
of the "remote" journals (that is, not notoriously connected 
with the Government) that the Pope has paid no regard to the 
representations of France and Austria respecting the principal 
points which should be decided by the Council. He would not 
have done so even if those representations had been expressed 
in a more emphatic form than they actually were. Neither 
Banneville nor Trautmansdorf was inclined to heartily defend 
the cause of the State against the Ultramontanes. This dis- 
poses of the news of the Memorial Diplomatique to the effect 
that at the suggestion of Count Daru the Curia has already 
given an affirmative answer. That report is absolutely false, 
as is nearly all the news published by the paper in question. 
It is much the same with Count Beust's note to the Papal 
Government. ('* Quote the word * note,' " added the Min- 
ister.) It was only a despatch, and, doubtless, a very tame 

March i6th. Evening. — Called up to the Minister, who 
lay on the sofa in his study. " Here," he said (pointing to a 
newspaper). "They complain of the accumulation of labour 
imposed upon Parliament. Already eight months' hard work ! 
That must be answered. It is true that members of Parliament 
have a great deal to do, but Ministers are still worse off. In 
addition to their work in the two Diets the latter have an 
immense amount of business to transact for the King and the 
country both while Parliament is sitting and during the recess. 
Moreover, members have the remedy in their own hands. If 
those who do not belong to the Upper Chamber will abstain 
from standing for election both to the Prussian and the Federal 
Diet they will lighten their task sufficiently. They are not 
obliged to sit in both houses." 

March 21st. — I am to call attention in the semi-official 
organs to the fact that the Reichstag is discussing the Criminal 
Code far too minutely and slowly. " The speakers," observed 
the Count, " show too great a desire for mere talk, and are too 
fond of details and hair-splitting. If this continues the Bills will 


not be disposed of in the present session, especially as the 
Budget has still to be discussed. The President might well 
exercise stricter control. Another unsatisfactory feature is that 
so many members absent themselves from the sittings. Our 
newspapers ought to publish regularly lists of such absentees. 
Please see that is done." 

Called up again later and commissioned to explain in the 
press the attitude of Prussia towards those Prelates who oppose 
the Curia in Rome. The Chancellor said : — " The newspapers 
express a desire that the Government should support the Ger- 
man Bishops on the Council. You should ask if those writers 
have formed a clear idea as to how we should set about that 
task. Should Prussia perhaps send a Note to the Council, or 
to Antonelli, the Papal Minister, who does not belong to that 
body ? or is she to secure representation in that assembly of 
Prelates, and protest (of course in vain) against what she objects 
to.-* Prussia will not desert those Bishops who do not submit 
themselves to the yoke, but it is for the Prelates in the first place 
to maintain a determined attitude. We cannot take preventive 
measures, as they would be of no value, but it is open to us to 
adopt a repressive policy in case a decision is come to in oppo- 
sition to our wishes. If, after that decision has been arrived at, 
it should prove to be incompatible with the mission and inter- 
ests of the State, then existing legislation, if found inadequate, 
can be easily supplemented and altered. The demand that the 
Prussian Government should support the more moderate Bishops 
is a mere empty phrase so long as no practical means of giving 
effect to it can be discovered. Moreover, the course which I 
now indicate will in any case be ultimately successful, although 
success may not at once be completely achieved." 

March 2^th. — The Chief wishes Klaczko's appointment in 
Vienna to be discussed. He said to me: — "Beust intends in 
that way to revive the Polish question. Point to the journalistic 
activity of that indefatigable agitator, and to his bitter hatred 
both of ourselves and Russia. Quote Rechenberg's confidential 
despatch of the 2nd of March from Warsaw, where he says that 
the Polish secret political societies which are engaged at Lem- 
berg in preparing for a revolution, with the object of restoring 
Polish independence, have sent a deputation to Klaczko con- 
gratulating him on his appointment to a position where he is in 


direct communication with the Chancellor of the Empire. Send 
the article first to the Koelnische Zeitung, and afterwards arrange 
for similar articles in the provincial newspapers. We must 
finally see that this reaches Reuss (the Ambassador in St. Peters- 
burg), in order that he may get it reproduced in the Russian 
press. It can also appear in the Kreuzzeitiingy and it must be 
brought up again time after time in another form." 

Afternoon. — Geheimrath Abeken desires me, on the in- 
structions of the Minister, to take note of the following docu- 
ment, which is apparently based on a despatch : — " It is 
becoming more and more difficult to understand the attitude 
of the Austrian Government towards the Council. All the 
organs of public opinion are on the side of the Austrian Bishops, 
who are making such a dignified and decisive stand in Rome. 
The reports which the Government thought well to allow the 
press to publish respecting the steps which they have taken 
in Rome were in harmony with this attitude. The news from 
Rome, however, speaks only of the tameness and indecision 
with which the Government's policy is being carried into execu- 
tion. The most contradictory accounts are now coming in. It 
is said that the Austrian Ambassador has supported the action 
of the French Ambassador, which is known not to have been 
very effective. Expressions have been attributed to Count 
Beust showing that, in his opinion, the only effectual course 
would be for all the Powers to take common or collective action. 
On the other hand, it is asserted that he gave a negative answer, 
reciting different objections, to the proposal of another Catholic 
State (Bavaria) to join it in a decisive declaration in Rome. In 
presence of this indecision on the part of the Catholic Powers 
the Bishops will doubtless be obliged to follow their own con- 
sciences and decide for themselves what their course of action 
is to be. We are convinced however that if the Prelates them- 
selves resolved to make a determined stand on behalf of their 
consciences, the situation would immediately undergo a chance 
in their favour, and that ultimately no Government would desert 
its own Bishops even if they were in a minority. 

" Bismarck has already explained to the Prussian Am- 
bassador in Paris that he is prepared to support every initiative 
taken on the Catholic side in the matter of the Council. He at 
the same time discussed the subject with Benedetti, expressing 



himself in a similar sense, but in the meantime making no posi- 
tive proposal. On the other hand, he asked incidentally whether 
it might not be desirable to consider in a general conference the 
attitude to be adopted by the various Governments towards the 
Council. Benedetti replied that such a course would only hasten 
the Council's decision. Bismarck urged that a conference might 
be useful, even were it no longer possible to influence the Coun- 
cil, and were the question to be considered merely how far the 
injurious effects of its decisions on the peace of Church and 
State could be minimised. 

" Benedetti sent a report of this informal conversation to 
Paris, representing it as a proposal to hold a conference. Daru 
replied in a despatch which pointed out the difficulty of carrying 
that idea into execution. Who should take part in the confer- 
ence.? Russia maintained such an unfriendly attitude towards 
the Catholic Church, and Italy was so hostile to the Curia, that 
they could hardly join in any common action. Spain wished 
to confine herself to the repression of any eventual breach of 
the laws of the country, and England ignored the official declara- 
tions of the Roman Church. Many Powers had Concordats, 
while others occupied a more independent position towards the 
Curia ; therefore, in that respect also, an understanding would be 
difficult. Finally, Daru feared that Rome, on hearing of an in- 
tended conference, would reply with a fait accompli. For these 
reasons he declined the proposal. He would, however, like to 
afford the other Powers an opportunity of supporting the meas- 
ures taken by France on her own initiative. In case he received 
a negative answer to his demand that France should be repre- 
sented on the Council, he would officially communicate to the 
other Governments his declaration to the Secretary of State, 
Cardinal Antonelli, that the rights and interests of the State 
would be defended against any encroachment on the part of the 
Spiritual Power, and urge them to support his action in Rome. 
Bismarck thanked Daru for this communication, and said that 
the Government at Berlin (when it had satisfied itself that such 
a course on the part of France was calculated to promote the 
interests of Prussian Catholics) would endeavour to strengthen 
the impression made thereby ; and that further communications 
were awaited with interest. 

" The French Government looks forward with anxiety to 

VOL. I. — c 


the consequences of the Council, but hesitates to take any seri- 
ous and decisive measures, and is not disposed to enter upon 
any common action with the other Powers. Bray, at Munich, 
seemed less disinclined to such a course. He thought a dec- 
laration might possibly be made that the Government consid- 
ered the oecumenical and authoritative character of the Council 
to be affected by the promulgation of the dogma of infallibility 
notwithstanding the opposition of a minority of the Bishops, as 
also the legal position assured to the Prelates under the Con- 
cordats, and that the dogma in question was to be regarded as 
null and void. Bray was anxious that Austria should join in 
this declaration. Beust, however, would not consent, as he be- 
lieved that such a declaration would merely induce the Council 
to come to an unanimous decision which would then be binding 
upon the Governments. An unequivocal attitude of any kind 
is not to be expected from Vienna. 

"If the Catholic Governments will not take the initiative, the 
question remains what course the Bishops themselves will adopt. 
We hold to the principle of not acting directly and in our own 
name with the Roman See, while at the same time powerfully 
and steadfastly supporting every effort made by the Catholics 
themselves, and particularly by the German Bishops to prevent 
illegal changes being made in the constitution of the Catholic 
Church, and to preserve both Church and State from a disturb- 
ance of the peace. We do not find ourselves called upon to 
take up a prominent attitude towards the Council, but our 
readiness to support energetically every well-meant effort of the 
Catholic Powers, whose duty it is to intervene in the first place, 
or of the Bishops within Council, remains unaltered." 

Evening. — I am to refer to England and the way in which 
the press is treated there. "The Liberals always appeal to 
English example when they want to secure some fresh liberty 
for the press. Such appeals, it is well known, rest largely upon 
mistaken notions. It would be desirable to examine more 
closely the Bill which has just been passed for the preservation 
of order in Ireland. What would public opinion in Germany, 
and particularly what would the people of Berlin say, if our 
Government could proceed against any of our democratic jour- 
nals, even against the most violent, according to the following 
provisions, and that too without even a state of minor siege } 


Then quote the provisions, and add that the Bill was carried by 
a large majority." ^ 

March 2Zth. — The Chancellor desires that the question of 
the Council should be again dealt with somewhat to the follow- 
ing effect : — *' The Press has repeatedly expressed a desire to 
know what position will be taken by Prussia towards the policy 
of the majority of the Council, and several proposals have been 
made in this connection. In our opinion the answer to that 
question is to be found in the character of Prussia as a Protes- 
tant Power. In that capacity Prussia must leave the initiative 
in this matter to the Catholic Governments, who are more 
directly threatened. If these do not take action the question 
remains what course the Bishops who form the minority in the 
Council will adopt, a question which will be answered by the 
immediate future. If the Catholic Governments decide to take 
steps against the majority of the Council, Prussia ought to join 
in that action if she considers it to be in the interests of her 
Catholic subjects. But it is less the duty of Prussia than of 
any other State to rush into the breach. ... If the Bishops 
defend the constitution of their Church, their episcopal rights, 
and peace between Church and State in a fearless and deter- 
mined protest against the encroachments of the Ultramontane 
party in the Council, it may then be confidently hoped that the 
Prussian Government will extend to them a powerful support." 

Some of the last sentences repeated almost literally the con- 
clusion of the document brought to me by Abeken. 

March 2,0th. — The Count sent down a report from Rome 
for use in the press. This report says: — "The tourists who 
visited St. Peter's on the 22nd instant were several times dis- 
turbed by a dull noise which rolled through the aisles like a 
storm, proceeding from the direction of the Council Chamber. 
Those who remained a little longer saw individual Bishops, 

1 At that time it had only been accepted by the Committee of the House of 
Commons, — without any important amendments, however, and its adoption on a 
third reading was assured. It is true, objections were raised. Gladstone very char- 
acteristically observed that the law now only empowered the Administration to pro- 
ceed against incitements to treasonable action ; it was, however, necessary to pro- 
vide for the punishment of attempts by the press to create a "treasonable state of 
mind " amongst the people. The sole concession made by the Government was that 
the threatened measures should not be put into execution until warning (once only) 
had been given. 

20 A SCENE IN ST. PETER'S [April i 

with anxious looks, hurriedly leave the church. There had been 
a terrible scene amongst the reverend fathers. The theme de 
erroribus, which was laid before the Council about three weeks 
ago and then returned to the Commission, was again being dis- 
cussed in an amended form. This discussion had now lasted 
five or six (eight) days. Strossmayer criticised one of the para- 
graphs of the Proemium which characterised Protestantism as 
the source of all the evils which now infect the world in the 
forms of pantheism, materialism, and atheism. He declared 
that this Proemium contained historical untruths, as the errors 
of our time were much older than Protestantism. The Hu- 
manist movement, which had been imprudently protected by the 
highest authority (Pope Leo X.) was in part responsible for 
them. The Proemium lacked the charity due to Protestants. 
(First uproar.) It was, on the contrary, amongst Protestants 
that Christianity had found its most powerful defenders, such as 
Leibnitz and Guizot, whose meditations he should wish to see in 
the hands of every Christian. (Renewed and increased uproar, 
while closed fists are shown at the speaker, and cries are heard 
of * Haereticus es I Taceas ! Descendas I Omnes te condem- 
nantus !' and now and then ^ Ego enm non condemnor) This 
storm also subsided and Strossmayer was able to proceed to 
another point, namely, the question to which the Bishops re- 
ferred in their protest, that is to say, that a unanimous vote is 
indispensable for decisions on dogma. Strossmayer's remarks 
on this theme caused the indignation of the majority to boil 
over. Cardinal Capalti interrupted him. The assembly raged 
like a hurricane. After a wordy war of a quarter of an hour's 
duration between the speaker and the Legates, Strossmayer 
retired, three times repeating the words : * Protestor non est con- 
cilium.' It is worthy of note that a Congregation has been held 
to-day at which the Bishop of Halifax and others are under- 
stood to have expressed views similar to those of Strossmayer 
and that no attempt was made to interrupt them. It would 
therefore appear as if the storm raised [against the Bishop of 
Bosnia were a party manoeuvre with the object of ruining the 
most important of the Princes of the Church." 

March ^\st. — Commissioned by the Chief to tell Zitelmann 
(an official of the Ministry of State in charge of press matters) 
that the newspaper extracts which his office prepares for sub- 


mission to the King (through the Minister) should be better 
sifted and arranged. Those that are suitable for the King are 
to be gummed on to separate sheets and detached from those 
that are not suitable for him. Particularistic lies and stupidi- 
ties, such as those from Kiel of the 25th and Cassel of the 28th, 
belong to the latter category and must not be laid before him. 
If he sees that kind of thing printed in black on white, he is apt 
to believe it. He does not know the character of those papers. 

I am to secure the insertion in the press of the following 
particulars, which have reference to a paragraph in a newspaper 
which the Minister did not name to me. It is a well-known fact 
that Howard, the English representative at Munich, although 
he is married to a Prussian lady (Schulenberg), exercises, in 
opposition to the views of his own Government, a decidedly anti- 
Prussian influence, not so much in a pro- Austrian as in a Guelph 
sense. He was Minister at Hanover up to the events of 1866. 

April \st. — The Minister's birthday. When I was called to 
him in the evening, his room was perfumed with flowers presented 
to him. He lay on the sofa, booted and spurred, smoking a 
cigar, and reading newspaper extracts. After receiving my 
instructions, I offered my congratulations, for which he thanked 
me, reaching me his hand. " I hope," he said, " we shall remain 
together for a very long time." I replied that I hoped so too, 
that I could find no words to say how happy I felt to be near 
him, and to be able to work for him. "Well," he answered, 
smiling, " it is not always so pleasant, but you must not notice 
every little thing." 

My instructions referred to Lasker and Hoverbeck. They 
were as follows : — " Just take Lippe — Lasker as your subject 
for once. Lasker has, it is true, been taken to task for one of 
his latest utterances by Bennigsen, the chief of his fraction, but 
it can do no harm to deal with the affair once more in the 
press — and repeatedly. He, like Lippe, wants the Constitution 
to be placed above our national requirements. Les extrimes se 
touchent. Lippe is the representative of the Particularistic Jun- 
kers with the tendency to absolutism, Lasker that of the Parlia- 
mentary Junkers with Particularistic leanings. Vincke, who was 
just such another, succeeded, with his eternal dogmatism, in 
ruining and nearly destroying a great party in a few months, 
notwithstanding favourable circumstances. Please send the 


article to the Norddeutsche Allgememe Zeittmg for publication, 
and let it be afterwards reproduced in another form by the 
Literary Bureau." . . . 

April ^th. — It was well that I carried out the Minister's 
orders at once. On being called to him this morning he 
received me with the words : "I asked you recently to write 
an article on the subject of Lippe and Lasker. Have you 
done so .? " I replied : " Yes, Excellency, and it has already 
appeared. I did not submit it to you, as I know that you see 
the Norddeutsche daily." He then said : " I have had no time 
as yet, I will look it up immediately." 

In a quarter of an hour I was again sent for, and on appear- 
ing before him the Minister said: "I have now read the 
article — it was amongst the extracts. It is excellent, exactly 
what I wished. Let it now be circulated and reproduced in 
the provincial journals. In doing so it may be further re- 
marked that if Count Bismarck were to charge Lasker and his 
fraction with Particularism — I do not mean all the National 
Liberals, but principally the Prussians, the Lasker group — the 
accusation would be well founded. Lippe has also laid down 
the principle that the Prussian Diet is independent of the 
Federal Diet." 

The Minister then continued : — " Here is the Koelnische 
Zeitimg talking of excitability. It alleges that I have mani- 
fested an excitability which recalls the period of 'conflict/ 
That is not true. I have merely repelled passionate attacks in 
the same tone in which they were delivered, according to the 
usual practice in Parliament. It was not Bismarck but Lasker 
and Hoverbeck who took the initiative. They began again 
with offensive personal attacks and I begged of them in a 
friendly way not to return to that style. Ask whether the 
writer had not read the report of the sitting, as it showed that 
it was not Count Bismarck who picked this quarrel. Apart 
from its pleadings on behalf of the claims of Denmark, the 
Koelnische Zeitung was a sensible newspaper. What had 
Count Bismarck done to it that it should allow its correspond- 
ents to send such a garbled account of the facts. Moreover, 
Bennigsen had reprimanded Lasker. They now themselves 
recognised that the tone they adopted was wrong, as Lasker 
came to me on Saturday to excuse himself." 


April 6th. — Under instructions from the Minister I dictated 
the following paragraph to Doerr for circulation through the 
Literary Bureau : — " The position of the Bishops who form 
the opposition in the Council does not appear to be satisfactory, 
if one may judge from the attitude of the Catholic Govern- 
ments and particularly of the Vienna Cabinet. Probably Count 
Beust has not yet made up his mind in this matter. He seems 
to have sent somewhat energetic remonstrances to the Ambas- 
sador in Rome, but it is obvious that Count Trautmansdorf has 
delivered them in a very diluted form. According to certain 
newspapers, the Austrian Chancellor has also endeavoured to 
bring about a common action of the Powers, while others report 
an incident which renders it doubtful whether any such attempt 
has been made. The French also maintain an attitude of 
exceptional prudence and reserve, and the Bishops would thus 
appear to stand well-nigh alone. . . . The initiative must 
come from the Bishops themselves." 

Between the 6th and the loth of April I wrote an article on 
the question of North Schleswig from the Minister's instruc- 
tions. This attracted great attention on its publication in the 
Norddetitsche Allgemeine Zeitung^ principally on the ground 
that there seemed to be no occasion for its appearance at a 
time when the political horizon was absolutely clear. (It may 
possibly have arisen through a Russian reminder and approval 
of the pretended claims of Denmark.) The article was to the 
following effect : — "It is a wilful falsehood to maintain that 
according to the peace of Prague the population of North 
Schleswig has to decide the question of the frontier. Prussia 
alone, and no one else, is authorised to do that. Moreover, the 
Treaty of Prague does not mention North Schleswig at all, but 
only refers, quite vaguely, to the northern districts of Schles- 
wig, which is something quite different. The parties to the 
Treaty were not called upon, and as the wording selected by 
them proves, never intended to deal with any such conception 
as ' North Schleswig,' and have not even used that term. But 
the Danes and their friends have so long and so persistently 
endeavoured to make the world believe that paragraph 5 of the 
Treaty stipulated for the cession of North Schleswig that they 
have come to believe it themselves. 

"The Prussians alone have to decide as to the extent of 


those districts. Prussia has no further political interest in 
negotiating with Denmark if the latter is not content with the 
concessions which the former is prepared to make. Finally, 
only Austria has a right to demand that the matter shall be 
settled in any form. ... If Prussia and Austria," so concluded 
the Minister's directions, "now come to an understanding as 
to cancelling that paragraph of the Treaty, — probably on the 
basis of further concessions on the part of Prussia, — absolutely 
no one has any right to object." Two articles were to be written 
on this subject, one for the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung^ 
in which the reference to Austria was to be omitted, and one 
for the Spenersche Zeitung^ which was to contain it. 

April 1 2th, — The Count desires to have an article written 
for the Koelnische Zeitung^ part of which he dictated to me. 
It ran as follows : — " The Constitutionnel speaks of the 
way in which French manners are being corrupted by for- 
eign elements, and in this connection it mentions Princess 
Metternich and Madame Rimsky-Korsakow. It would require 
more space than we can afford to this subject to show in 
its true light all the ignorance and prejudice exhibited by 
the writer of this article, who has probably never left Paris. 
Princess Metternich would not act in Vienna as she is repre- 
sented by the Constitutionnel to have acted in Paris; and 
Madame Rimsky-Korsakow is not a leader of society in St. 
Petersburg. The contrary must be the case. Paris must be 
responsible if the two ladies so conduct themselves, and exer- 
cise such an influence, as the French journal asserts they do. 
As a matter of fact the idea that Paris is the home and school 
of good manners is now only to be met with in other countries, 
in old novels, and amongst elderly people in the most remote 
parts of the provinces. It has long since been observed, and 
not in European Courts alone, that the present generation of 
Frenchmen do not know how to behave themselves. In other 
circles it has also been remarked that the young Frenchman 
does not compare favourably with the youth of other nations, 
or with those few countrymen of his own who have, far from 
Paris, preserved the traditions of good French society. Trav- 
ellers who have visited the country at long intervals are agreed 
in declaring that the forms of polite intercourse, and even the 
conventional expressions for which the French language so 




long served as a model, are steadily falling into disuse. It is 
therefore quite conceivable that the Empress Eugenie, as a 
sensitive Spaniard, has been painfully affected by the tone and 
character of Parisian society, but it would show a lack of judg- 
ment on her part if, as stated by the Constittitionnely she sought 
for the origin of that evil abroad. But we believe we are justi- 
fied in directly contradicting that statement, as we know that 
the Empress has repeatedly recommended young Germans as 
models for the youth of France. The French show themselves 
to be a decadent nation, and not least in their manners. It 
will require generations to recover the ground they have lost. 
Unfortunately, so far as manners are concerned, all Europe has 

From the 13th of April to the 28th of May I did not see the 
Minister. He was unwell, and left for Varzin on Easter Eve. 
It was said at the Ministry that his illness was of a bilious 
character, and was due to the mortification he felt at the con- 
duct of the Lasker fraction, together with the fact that he had 
spoilt his digestion at a dinner at Camphausen's. 

On the 2 1 St of May the Minister returned to Berlin, but it 
was not until seven days later that I was called to him. He 
then gave me the following instructions : — " Brass (the Nord- 
dejctsche Allgemeine Zeitung) must not plead so strongly for the 
Austrians nor speak so warmly of the Government of Napoleon. 
In the case of Austria we have to adopt a benevolently expec- 
tant attitude, yet the appointment of Klaczko and his connec- 
tion with the Ministry is for us a suspicious symptom. The 
appointment of Grammont to the French Foreign Office is not 
exactly agreeable to us. The Czechs must be treated with all 
possible consideration; but, on the other hand, we must deal 
with the Poles as with enemies." 

I afterwards asked as to his health. He said he still felt 
weak, and would not have left Varzin if things had not looked 
so critical in Parliament. As soon as things were once more in 
order there, he would be off again, if possible on an early day, 
in order to undertake a cure with Karlsbad water, going to 
some seaside resort. 

On being called to the Count on Whitsunday I found him 
highly indignant at the statement of a correspondent of the 
Koelnische Zeitung^ who reported that there was a scarcity of 


labour in the Spandau cartridge factory. " Therefore unusual 
activity in the preparation of war material ! " he said. " If I 
were to have paid two visits to the King at Ems it would not 
cause so much anxiety abroad as thoughtless reports of this 
kind. Please go to Wehrmann and let him ascertain at the 
Ministry of War if they are responsible for that article, and if 
possible get them to insert a correction in the Koelnische Zeu 
tung or in the Norddeutsche, as it must appear in an influential 

A diary entry on an undated slip of paper, but written in 
May : " Bohlen yesterday bantered Bucher about his * Easter 
mission,' which appears to have been to Spain." 

On the 8th of June the Minister again left Berlin for 

Immediately on the commencement of the difficulties with 
France respecting the election to the Spanish throne of the 
Hereditary Prince of Hohenzollem, letters and telegrams began 
to arrive, which were forwarded by Bucher under instructions 
from the Chief. These consisted in part of short paragraphs 
and drafts of articles, as well as some complete articles which 
only required to be retouched in the matter of style, or to have 
references inserted with regard to matters of fact. These 
directions accumulated, but owing to the spirit and energy in- 
spired by the consciousness that we were on the eve of great 
events, and that it was an honour to cooperate in the work, 
they were promptly dealt with, almost all being disposed of on 
the day of their arrival. I here reproduce some of these in- 
structions, the order of the words and expressions in the de- 
ciphered telegrams being slightly altered, while the remainder 
are given exactly as they reached me. 

July yth, evening. — A telegram to me from Varzin : — "The 
semi-official organs should indicate that this does not seem to be 
the proper time for a discussion of the succession to the Spanish 
throne, as the Cortes, who are alone entitled to decide the ques- 
tion, have not yet spoken. German Governments have always 
respected Spanish independence in such matters, and will do so 
in future, as they have no claim or authority to interfere and lay 
down regulations for the Spaniards. Then, in the non-official 
press, great surprise should be expressed at the presumption of 
the French, who have discussed the question very fully in the 


Chamber, speaking as if that assembly had a right to dispose of 
the Spanish throne, and apparently forgetting that such a course 
was as offensive to Spanish national pride as it was conducive 
to the encouragement of Republican tendencies. This may be 
safely construed into a further proof of the false direction which 
the personal regime is taking. It would appear as if the 
Emperor, who has instigated this action, wanted to see the out- 
break of a new war of succession." 

A letter from Bucher, which was handed to me on the even- 
ing of the 8th of July, further developed the idea contained in 
the last sentence of the foregoing telegram. This letter ran : — 
"Previous to 1868 Eugenie was pleased to play the part of an 
obedient subject to Isabella, and since the September revolution 
that of a gracious protectress. She unquestionably arranged 
the farce of the abdication, and now, in her rage, she incites her 
consort and the Ministers. As a member of a Spanish party 
she would sacrifice the peace and welfare of Europe to the in- 
trigues and aspirations of a corrupt dynasty. 

" Please see that this theme, a new war of succession in the 
nineteenth century, is thoroughly threshed out in the press. 
The subject is inviting, especially in the hands of a correspond- 
ent disposed to draw historical parallels, and more particularly 
parallels ex averso. Have the French not had experience enough 
of Spain with Louis XIV. and Napoleon, and with the Due 
d'Angouleme's campaign for the execution of the decrees of 
the Verona Congress.? Have they not excited sufficient hatred 
by all those wars and by the Spanish marriage of 1 846 } 

" Bring personal influence to bear as far as possible on the 
Editors who have been intimidated by the Stock Exchange, 
representing to them that if the German press takes up a timid 
and hesitating attitude in presence of the rhodomontades of the 
French, the latter will become more insolent and put forward 
intolerable demands in other questions affecting Germany still 
more closely. A cool and determined attitude, with a touch 
of contempt for those excited gentlemen who would like to 
slaughter somebody but do not exactly know whom, would be 
the most fitting means for putting an end to this uproar and 
preventing serious complications." 

Bucher added : " Protestants were still sent to the galleys 
under the Spanish Government which was overthrown in 1868." 


Another communication of Bucher's from Varzin of the same 
date runs : — " The precedents furnished by Louis PhiHppe's 
refusal of the Belgian throne on behalf of the Due de Nemours, 
in 183 1, on the ground that it would create uneasiness, and by 
the protest which England would have entered against the 
marriage of the Due de Montpensier to the sister of Queen 
Isabella, are neither of them very applicable, as the Prince of 
HohenzoUern is not a son of King William but only a remote 
connection, and Spain does not border on Prussia." 

The following was a third subject received from Varzin on 
the same day : "Is Spain to inquire submissively at the Tuileries 
whether the King whom she desires to take is considered satis- 
factory ? Is the Spanish throne a French dependency ? It has 
already been stated in the Prussian speech from the throne that 
our sole desire in connection with the events in Spain was that 
the Spanish people should arrive at an independent decision for 
the maintenance of their own prosperity and power. In France, 
where on other occasions so much is said of national indepen- 
dence, the attempt of the Spanish people to decide for themselves 
has immediately revived the old diplomatic traditions which led 
to the Spanish war of succession 160 years ago." 

On the same day, the 8th of July, a telegram was also 
received from the Chancellor by the Secretary of State, and it 
was handed to me for my information. It was to the following 
effect : — "I have now before me in the despatch of Count 
Solms the official text of the Due de Grammont's speech, and I 
find his language more brusque and presumptuous than I had 
anticipated. I am in doubt whether that is due to stupidity or 
the result of a decision taken beforehand. The probability of 
the latter alternative seems to be confirmed by the noisy demon- 
strations which will most likely render it impossible for them to 
draw back. I am reluctant to protest officially against Gram- 
mont's speech on international grounds, but our press should 
attack it very severely, and this should be done in as many 
newspapers as possible." 

July ^th. — A telegram from Bucher to the Secretary of 
State saying that the direction to the press to deal with Gram- 
mont's speech in very strong language is not to apply to the 
Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. 

Another telegram of the same date to Thile, which he 



brought to me : *' Any one intending to summon a Congress to 
deal with a debatable question ought not first to threaten a war- 
like solution in case the opposite party should not agree to his 

Further, the Secretary of State handed me a telegram from 
Berlin to the Chancellor, which was returned by the latter with 
comments. I was to get these circulated in the non-official 
journals. The telegram was to the effect that Grammont had 
stated, in reply to an interpellation by Cochery, that Prim had 
offered the Spanish throne to the Hereditary Prince of Hohen- 
zollern (Remark: " He can do nothing of the kind. Only the 
Cortes."), and that the Prince had accepted it. (Remark : " He 
will only declare himself after he has been elected.") The 
Spanish people has not yet, however, expressed its wishes. 
(Remark: "That is the main point.") The French Govern- 
ment do not recognise the negotiations in question. (Remark : 
" There are no negotiations excepting those between Spain and 
the eventual candidates for the throne.") Grammont therefore 
begged that the discussion might be postponed, as it was 
purposeless for the moment. (Remark: "Very.") The French 
Government would maintain the neutral attitude which they 
had observed up to the present, but would not permit a 
foreign Power to place a Prince upon the Spanish throne 
(" Hardly any power entertains such an intention, except per- 
haps France."), and endanger the honour and dignity of France. 
They trusted to the wisdom of the Germans (Remark: "Has 
nothing to do with it."), and to the friendship of the Spanish 
people. (Remark : " That is the main point") Should they 
be deceived in their hopes they would do their duty without 
hesitation or weakness. (Remark: "We also.") 

Bucher sent me a whole packet of sketches for articles : — 
I. "If Spain records her decision to establish a govern- 
ment which shall be peaceful, and tolerant in religious matters, 
and which may be expected to be friendly to Germany, who is 
also devoted to peace, can it be in our interest to prevent the 
execution of that resolve, and for that purpose to take measures 
of doubtful legality } Shall we, because of a threat of war made 
in pursuit of an arbitrary and dynastic object, take steps to 
frustrate a reorganisation of Spanish affairs advantageous to 
Germany .? Is it not rather an act of insolent presumption on 


the part of France to address such a demand to Germany ? Ob- 
viously France lacks either the courage or the means to enforce 
her views at Madrid, and it appears from Grammont's speech of 
the 4th of July that in her anger at what has happened in Spain 
she is prepared to throw herself upon Germany in a blind fit of 
rage. That speech is to a certain extent a declaration of war 
against the person of the Prince of Hohenzollern, in case he 
should decide to accept the offer of the Spanish people. France 
demands that Prussia shall undertake the office of policeman in 
case a German Prince who has attained his majority shows a 
disposition to meet the wishes of the Spaniards. For a North 
German Government to interfere with a citizen who should wish 
to exercise his right to emigrate and adopt the Spanish nation- 
ality would raise a very questionable point of law from a consti- 
tutional standpoint. Even if such a power existed, the dignity 
of Germany would demand that it should only be applied in her 
own interests. The calm consideration of those interests is not 
in the least affected by the warlike threats of a neighbouring 
State which, instead of arguments, appeals to its 400,000 soldiers. 
If France lays claim in this manner to the guardianship of ad- 
joining nations, the maintenance of peace can for the latter be 
only a question of time, which may be decided at any moment. 
On Grammont's appointment to the French Foreign Office, it 
was feared in many quarters that the choice by the Emperor 
Napoleon of a statesman who was only remarkable for his per- 
sonal impetuosity and his hostility to Germaay indicated a 
desire to secure for himself greater liberty in breaking the 
peace. Unfortunately the haughty and aggressive tone of the 
Duke's speech is not calculated to remove the apprehensions 
entertained at that time. He is not a minister of peace, but 
rather the instrument of a personal policy which shrinks from 
no responsibility. In itself the question as to who is to be the 
ruler of Spain is not one for which Germany would go to war. 
But the French demand that the German Government, in oppo- 
sition to its own interests, should put artificial difficulties in the 
way of the Spaniards manifests a depth of self-conceit which 
scarcely any government amongst the independent states of 
Europe could submit to at the present day. We seek no 
quarrel, but if any one tries to force one upon us he will find us 
ready to go through with it to the bitter end." 


2. In another article (there was too much material to be dis- 
posed of in one) the following considerations were to be devel- 
oped. This was not to be communicated to the official organs, 
but either to the Koelnische Zeitimg or the Spenersche Zeitung, 
while it was to be given in a curtailed form to Hahn's Literary 
Bureati. " If the candidature of Alphonso had up to the pres- 
ent any prospect of success in Spain, it would have been most 
prejudicially affected by the foolish uproar raised in France, 
which stamped it with a French official character. No worse 
service could be done to that Prince than to represent him as 
a French candidate. Montpensier had already suffered under 
the reproach that he was a Frenchman. The Bourbons had 
formerly been imposed upon the Spaniards, and had proved 
themselves no blessing. The manner in which the succession 
to the throne is now discussed in France would offend a nation 
even less proud than the Spaniards." 

3. "Between the years 1866 and 1868, and particularly 
before the fall of Isabella, France schemed a great deal against 
Germany with Austria, Italy, and also with Spain. Those in- 
trigues were set at nought by the Revolution of September, to 
which Count Bismarck referred when he said at that time in 
Parliament that the danger of war, which had been very immi- 
nent, had been dispelled by an unforeseen event. So long as 
France maintains her warlike intentions towards Germany, she 
will desire to see on the Spanish throne a dynasty favourable 
to those schemes, possibly an Ultramontane one, as in case 
of an attack on Germany it would make a difference of about 
50,000 men to France whether she had a benevolent, or at least 
a neutral, neighbour on the other side of the Pyrenees or one 
whose attitude might be suspected. It is true that France has 
nothing to fear directly from Spain if the French, who for the 
past eighty years have been unable to make up their own minds 
and who cannot govern themselves, would give up the attempt 
to play the part of tutor to other nations. Let the period 1848- 
1850 in France be compared with that of 1868-1870 in Spain, 
and the comparison will not be to the advantage of the nation 
qui marche a la tHe de la civilisation^ 

4. " England is accustomed to look upon the Peninsula 
as a dependency of her own, and doubtless believes that her 
influence can be more easily made to prevail in a state of inse- 

32 PRIM'S SPEECH [July io 

curity than under the rule of a powerful dynasty. It is not 
wise of the English to recall certain incidents of Spanish his- 
tory, a course in which they are followed by the French news- 
papers. The Spanish version of the history of the wars against 
the First Napoleon is very different to the English one. In 
Buen Retiro every traveller is shown the site of a once prosper- 
ous porcelain manufactory, which was needlessly burned to the 
ground by the British allies of Spain.'* 

5. Still another subject. " Very pleased with the article 
in the Spenersche Zeitung (this was addressed to me). Please 
again call attention in a somewhat similar manner to the im- 
petuosity of Grammont therein referred to. What is the real 
ground for all this alarm } A paragraph in the Agence Havas 
to the effect that the affair had been settled without the con- 
currence of the Cortes. It is probable that the French Govern- 
ment itself had this paragraph inserted, and it was, moreover, 
concocted in complete ignorance of the Spanish constitution 
and of the laws governing the election of a King. This, which 
was the only new feature, was a barefaced invention. It had 
already been mentioned in all the papers that Prim's speech of 
the nth of June referred to the Prince of Hohenzollern, and 
that had caused no excitement in France. Is the present agi- 
tation then a coup montef Does the French Government in- 
sist upon a *row' } Has Louis Napoleon chosen Grammont in 
order to pick a quarrel with us } At any rate he has been 
unskilful in his treatment of this question. The general moral 
to be drawn as often as possible is : the French Government is, 
after all, not quite so shrewd as people believe. The French 
have succeeded in many things with the assistance of 300,000 
soldiers, and owing to that success they are regarded as im- 
mensely clever. Is that really so .? Circumstances show that it 
is not." 

July lotk, evening, — Received a further series of sketches 
and drafts for articles from Bucher, who acts as the mouthpiece 
of the Chancellor's views and intentions. 

I. For the Spenersche or Koelnische. " Those foreign 
Powers that are not concerned in the differences respecting 
the Spanish throne are as desirous to maintain peace as Ger- 
many herself. Their influence will, however, be neutralised by 
Grammont's ill-considered threats. Should the German Gov- 


ernments consider the security of our frontier to be seriously- 
threatened, they would scarcely come to a decision without 
convoking Parliament." 

2. " The French are running amuck like a Malay who has 
got into a rage and rushes through the streets dagger in hand, 
foaming at the mouth, stabbing every one who happens to cross 
his path. If France is mad enough to regard Germany as a fit 
object for a vicarious whipping, nothing will restrain her, and 
the result will be that she will herself receive a personal casti- 

3. " The semi-official journals in Paris pretend that attention 
has been attracted there by the numerous cipher despatches ex- 
changed between Berlin and Madrid, and that they have been 
clever enough to decipher them. We do not know whether 
many despatches have passed between the two capitals men- 
tioned, but we remember a communication which was made to 
Parliament some time ago by Count Bismarck, according to 
which the cipher system of our Foreign Office is based on a 
vocabulary of about 20,000 words, each one of which is repre- 
sented by a group of figures arbitrarily chosen. It is impossible 
to ' decipher ' such a system in the same way as those based on 
an altered alphabet and other old methods. In order to read 
such a despatch, it is essential to have the vocabulary. Does 
the cleverness on which the Parisians pride themselves consist 
in having stolen the key to our ciphers.? This would be in 
contradiction with the original statement that the Prince of 
Hohenzollern's candidature first became known through a com- 
munication from Prim. It would, therefore, appear that the 
official press wants to clear the Government of the reproach of 
incapacity by a subsequent invention, acting on the maxim that 
it is better to be taken for a rogue than a fool." 

4. "According to a private telegram from Paris to the 
Berliner Boers eii Zeitimgy our Ambassador there, together with 
the second Secretary of Embassy, left for Ems on receipt of a 
Note delivered to him immediately after the Cabinet Council 
at Saint Cloud. We have made inquiries in the proper quarter 
as to the accuracy of this report, and have received the fol- 
lowing answer: Note delivered. 'Not a shadow of truth. 

Im Werther's journey was decided upon and announced in Paris 
■ long before the agitation began.' " 
H^ VOL. I. — D 


5. "As was already known, Prim intended this year, as on 
previous occasions, to visit Vichy. This would have led to a 
meeting between himself and the Emperor Napoleon and a dis- 
cussion of the succession to the Spanish throne. It is also re- 
ported that the Prince of Hohenzollern was not indisposed to 
try confidentially to bring about an understanding with the 
Emperor. All this has been rendered impossible by the abrupt 
tone of the Due de Grammont. As Prim's visit to Vichy has 
long since been announced in the newspapers, and the near 
relationship as well as the personal friendship which hitherto 
existed between the Prince of Hohenzollern and the Emperor 
rendered both meetings probable, it is hard to avoid the sus- 
picion that the French Government, dreading insurmountable 
domestic difficulties, desires to inflame French vanity in favour 
of a war, which would at the same time promote the dynastic 
views of the Empress Eugenie." 

July \2th. — Received from Secretary Wollmann a note 
from Bucher in Varzin which is intended for me. It has been 
sent to the Secretary of State, in order that he should say 
whether there is any objection to its being used in the press. 
He has no objection, and so it goes to the newspapers. It runs 
as follows : — " The Imparcial publishes a letter from Paris to 
the effect that the furious article in the Constitutionnel reproach- 
ing Prince Hohenzollern with his relationship to Murat has 
been revised by the Emperor himself." 

In the evening the Minister returned. He is dressed in 
plain clothes and looks very well. 

July \ith. — Called early to the Chief. I am to wait until 
a statement appears in the press to the effect that the renuncia- 
tion of Prince Hohenzollern was in consequence of pressure 
from Ems, and then to contradict it. " In the meantime (said 
the Minister) the Norddeutsche should only say that the Prince's 
present decision has not been altogether unexpected. When 
he accepted the throne which had been offered to him he had 
obviously not foreseen that his decision would occasion so much 
excitement in Paris. For more than thirty years past the best 
relations existed between Napoleon and the Hohenzollern family. 
Prince Leopold could not, therefore, have apprehended any an- 
tipathy to his candidature on the part of the Emperor. As his 
candidature suddenly became known after the Cortes had been 


adjourned till November, it may well have been assumed that 
there would be time enough in the interval to sound the Em- 
peror as to his views. Now that this assumption (here the 
Chancellor began to speak more slowly, as if he were dictat- 
ing), which, up to the acceptance of the Crown by the Prince, 
was still quite legitimate, had proved to be partly erroneous, it 
was scarcely probable that the Prince would, on his own respon- 
sibility, be disposed to cope single-handed with the storm which 
his decision had raised, and might yet raise, in view of the 
apprehensions of war of the whole European world, and the 
influence brought to bear upon him from London and Brussels. 
Even a portion of the responsibility of involving the great 
European nations, not only in one war, but possibly in a series 
of wars, would weigh very heavily upon a man who could not 
claim to have assumed it as part of the duty of the Royal office 
which he had already accepted. That was more than could 
well be expected of a Prince who only occupied a private 
position. It was the offensive tone of Grammont that alone 
prevented Prussia from exercising her influence with the 

The following is to be published in other papers : — "It can- 
not be denied that a Spanish Government disposed to promote 
the cause of Peace and to abstain from conspiring with France 
would be of considerable value to us. But if, some fourteen 
days ago, the Emperor Napoleon had addressed himself confi- 
dentially to Berlin, or indicated that the affair was attracting 
attention, Prussia, instead of adopting an indifferent attitude, 
would have cooperated in pacifying public opinion in Paris. 
The situation has been entirely altered through the aggressive 
tone of Grammont's speech, and the direct demands addressed 
to the King, who is staying in privacy at Ems for the benefit of 
his health, unaccompanied by a single Minister. His Majesty 
rightly declined to accede to these demands. That incident has 
created so much indignation in Germany, that many people feel 
disappointed at the Prince Leopold's renunciation. At any 
rate, the confidence in the peaceful intentions of France has 
been so thoroughly shaken that it will take a considerable time 
to restore it. If commerce and trade have been injured by the 
evidence which has shown us what a den of brigands we have 
to deal with in France, the people of that country must fasten 


the responsibility on the personal regime under which they at 
present live. 

The Minister also desires it to be incidentally remarked in 
the non-official press that of the South German Courts those of 
Munich and Karlsruh had given the most satisfactory declara- 
tions in this affair, while on the other hand that of Stuttgart 
had expressed itself evasively. 

Finally, I am to communicate to one of the local papers that 
Count Bismarck has been sent for to Ems to consult with the 
King as to summoning Parliament. Breaking off a cure which 
he was undergoing, the Chancellor has remained in Berlin in 
order to await there the further instructions of his Majesty, or 
ultimately to return to Varzin. The Count then added : ** Later 
on I will call for you several times, as there is something more 
to be prepared for the Norddeiitsche. We shall now be shortly 
interrupted." The Crown Prince arrived five minutes afterwards 
and had a long interview with the Minister. 

July 14th. — Our newspapers to call attention to the loyal 
attitude of Wiirtemberg, " which in consequence of a misunder- 
standing has been represented in some journals as evasive." 

July i^th. — I am to send the following dementi to Wolf's 
Telegraphic Agency for circulation : — " The news published by 
the Spenersche Zeitung respecting the opening of Parliament is 
not quite accurate. It was proposed a week ago by the Chan- 
cellor while in Varzin that it should be convoked as soon as the 
Government Bills were ready for submission to it. His Majesty 
shares this view, and the Federal Council has accordingly been 
summoned for to-morrow, Saturday, morning to consider those 

In the evening the Chancellor dictated an article for the 
Kreuzzeitung on the confusion by the public between personal 
and private proceedings of the King and his official acts. It 
ran as follows : " It appears from the Mazaredo pamphlet that 
the Hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern informed the King at 
Ems of his acceptance of the offer of the Spanish throne, prob- 
ably towards the end of June. His Majesty was then at Ems 
for the purpose of taking the waters, and certainly not with the 
intention of carrying on business of State, as none of his Min- 
isters had been summoned thither. As a matter of fact, only so 
much has become public respecting the King's reply to the 


communication of the Hereditary Prince (it was in the form of 
a letter written in his Majesty's own hand) that the sovereign 
was not pleased at the news, although he did not feel called 
upon to offer any opposition. In the whole affair no State ac- 
tion of any kind has been taken. This constitutional aspect of 
the situation does not appear to have been properly appreciated 
up to the present in public discussions of the question. The 
position of the King in his private correspondence was con- 
founded with his position as head of the State, and it was for- 
gotten that in the latter capacit}^ according to the constitution, 
the cooperation of the Ministry is necessary to constitute a State 
action. It is only the French Cabinet that appears to have 
thoroughly realised this distinction, inasmuch as it brought the 
whole force of its diplomacy to bear upon the person of the 
sovereign, who was staying at a watering place for the sake of 
his health, and whose private life was not protected by the usual 
etiquette, in order to force him under official pressure into pri- 
vate negotiations which might afterwards be represented as 
arrangements with the Government." 

July igth. — About an hour after the opening of Parliament 
in the Royal Palace (1.45 p.m.), Le Sourd, the French Charg6 
d' Affaires, delivered Napoleon's declaration of war at the Foreign 

Towards 5 o'clock in the evening I was called to the Min- 
ister, who was in his garden. After searching for him for some 
time I saw him coming through one of the long shady alleys to 
the left, which led to the entrance in the Koniggratzer Strasse. 
He was brandishing a bij stick. His figure stood out against 
the yellow evening sunshine like a picture painted on a gold 
ground. He stopped in his walk as I came up to him, and 
said : " I wish you to write something in the Kreuzzeitiing 
against the Hanoverian nobles. It must come from the prov- 
inces, from a nobleman living in the country, an Old Prussian — 
very blunt, somewhat in this style : It is reported that certain 
Hanoverian nobles have endeavoured to find pilots and spies in 
the North Sea for French men-of-war. The arrests made within 
the last few days with the assistance of the military authorities 
are understood to be connected with this affair. The conduct 
of those Hanoverians is infamous, and I certainly express the 
sentiments of all my neighbours when I put the following ques- 


tions to the Hanoverian nobles who sympathise with those 
traitors. Have they any doubt, I would ask them, that a man 
of honour could not now regard such men as entitled to de- 
mand honourable satisfaction by arms whether their unpatriotic 
action was or was not undertaken at the bidding of King 
George ? Do they not, as a matter of course, consider that 
an affair of honour with them is altogether out of the question, 
and should one of them be impudent enough to propose such a 
thing, would they not have him turned out of the house by the 
servants or eject him propricB rnanu after having, of course, put 
on a pair of gloves to handle him with ? Are they not con- 
vinced that such miscreants can only be properly described by 
the good old Prussian word Hundsvott (scurvy, infamous rogues) 
and that their treason has branded their posterity to the third 
and fourth generations with indelible disgrace ? I beg them to 
answer these questions." 

Evening. — In an article in the Libert^ of the i8th instant, 
that paper reminds Italy that she owes her liberation to France, 
and that in 1866 it was France who brought about the Italian 
alliance with the Berlin Cabinet. It then maintains that, in 
view of the seriousness of approaching events, Victor Em- 
manuel, with truly chivalrous sentiment, has not for a moment 
hesitated to assure the French of his unconditional support. 
With reference to this article our papers should observe : " Up 
to the present the French have played the part of masters to 
the whole world, and Belgium, Spain, and the King of Prussia 
have in turn experienced their arrogance. Their behaviour was 
somewhat like that of the Sultan towards his Khedive, it was a 
kind of megalomania based upon the bayonet. Their presump- 
tion is now beginning to waver, so they court the assistance of 
those good friends whom they pretend to have placed under 
obligations to them." 

The Minister subsequently dictated the following to be 
worked up for the German newspapers outside Berlin, such as 
the Koelnische Zeitung, and for the English and Belgium jour- 
nals : " According to confidential communications from loyal 
Hanoverian circles, amongst other decisive factors which led the 
French to the declaration of war, were the reports sent to Paris 
by Colonel Stoffel, the Military Plenipotentiary in Berlin. Stof- 
fel's information was, it appears, less accurate than abundant. 


as none of those who supplied him with it being prepared to 
forego the payments they received from him merely because 
they had nothing to say, they occasionally invented the news 
of which they warranted the correctness. The Plenipotentiary 
had, it is said, been informed that the arming of the Prussian 
infantry, both as regards rifles and ammunition, was at present 
undergoing a thorough transformation, and that consequently a 
moment so favourable as the present for attacking Prussia would 
hardly occur again, inasmuch as on the completion of this 
change the Prussian armaments would have been unassail- 
able." 1 

2. " It now appears to be beyond all doubt that the French 
Government was aware of the candidature of the Prince of 
Hohenzollern for months past, that they carefully promoted it 
and foolishly imagined it would serve as a means of isolating 
Prussia and creating a division in Germany. No trustworthy 
information has been received as yet as to whether and how far 
Marshal Prim had prepared the way for this intrigue, in agree- 
ment with the Emperor Napoleon. But doubtless that point 
will ultimately be cleared up by history. The sudden disap- 
pearance of Spain from the political field as soon as the differ- 
ences between France and Prussia broke out gives matter for 
reflection and suspicion. It cannot but be regarded as strange 
that after the zeal shown by the Spanish Government in the 
matter of the Hohenzollern candidature had been raised to 
boiling point it should have suddenly fallen below zero, and that 
the relations of Marshal Prim to the French Cabinet should now 
appear to be of the most friendly character, while the Spaniards 
seem no longer to feel any irritation at the interference of 
France in their internal affairs." 

3. " Rumours were circulated this afternoon to the effect that 
the former French Military Plenipotentiary, Baron Stoffel, had 
been insulted in the street. On closer inquiry it was ascertained 
that some individuals who knew Stoffel followed him in the 
street, and on his reaching his house struck the door with their 
sticks. The police intervened energetically on the first report 
of this matter and have taken measures to prevent a repetition 
of such conduct and to provide that Baron Stoffel shall not be 

1 The loyal Hanoverian circles did not tell the truth in this matter. Stoffel's 
reports were, on the whole, good, and he himself was a man of respectable character. 


interfered with on his departure this evening. Excesses of this 
description are, however, highly reprehensible, even when they 
are confined to words. The former representatives of France 
are under the protection of international law and of the honour 
of Germany until they have crossed the frontier." 

July 2\st. — Keudell asked me this morning if I knew Rasch, 
the journalist, and if I could say where he was now to be found, 
in Berlin or elsewhere. I replied that I had seen him in Schles- 
wig in 1864, afterwards at a table d'hdte at the Hotel Weissberg, 
in the Dessauer Strasse, where he lodged at the end of February. 
I knew nothing more about him, but had heard that he was 
extremely conceited, almost to the point of madness — a political 
visionary who desired to convert the whole world to republican- 
ism. I was not aware of his whereabouts in Berlin, but would 
make inquiries at Weissberg's. Keudell told me to hunt him up 
and ask him whether he would go to Garibaldi and urge him 
to undertake an expedition against Rome, at the same time 
carrying him money from us. I pointed out that Rasch was 
perhaps too vain to keep his own counsel. Keudell consoled 
himself with the idea that he would doubtless prove a good 
patriot. I declined to treat with Rasch in the matter, as I could 
not speak to him in my own name but in that of the Foreign 
Office, and that could be better done by some official of higher 
rank, who would make a greater impression upon Rasch. 
Keudell seemed to recognise the justice of this view. I made 
inquiries and was able to report on the same evening that Rasch 
was staying at Weissberg's. 

Called to the Minister in the evening. He showed me an 
extract from the National Zeitung^ and observed: "They say 
here that the English would not allow the French to attack on 
Belgium. Well and good, but how does that help the Belgians 
if the protection comes too late } If Germany were once de- 
feated (which God forbid !) the English would not be able to 
assist the Belgians in the least, but might, on the contrary, be 
thankful if they themselves remained safe in London." 

I am further to call attention to the " manner in which France 
is begging for help on all sides — that great warlike nation which 
makes so much parade of its victories, representing them as 
having always been won solely by the force of its own arms. 
They go begging (use that expression) to Italy, to Denmark, to 



Sweden; and above all to the German States, to whom they 
promise the same brilliant destiny which they have already 
prepared for Italy — political independence and financial 

Called up to the Minister again later. I am to secure the 
insertion of the following in the non-official German papers and 
in the Belgian and English press: "The English Government 
observe their neutrality in connection with the war that has now 
broken out in a liberal and conscientious spirit. They impar- 
tially permit both sides to purchase horses and munitions of war 
in England. It is unfortunate, however, that France alone can 
avail herself of this liberality, as will appear from a glance at 
the geographical position of the two countries and from the 
superiority of the French at sea. Then quote what Heffter 
(the book must be in the Library) has to say on this kind of 
neutrality, and observe that the English jurists describe it 
more tersely as * fraudulent neutrality.' " 

July 22,rd. — Called to the Minister live times to-day. The 
press should urge the prosecution and seizure of Rothan, an Al- 
sacian who speaks German, hitherto French Charg6 d' Affaires 
at Hamburg, who has been a zealous spy and instrument of 
French intrigue in North Germany, and who is now understood 
to be wandering along the coast between the Elbe and Ems, as 
also that of the ex-Hanoverian officer, Adolf von Kielmansegg, 
respecting whom further particulars are to be obtained from 
the Ministry of the Interior. The Count further wants the 
press to give a list of the names of the Bavarian members of 
Parliament who voted for the neutrality of that State in the 
national war, mentioning their professions but without any fur- 
ther remarks. "Give it first in Brass " (i.e., Norddeutsche All- 
gemeine Zeitung\ he added. " You will find such a list amongst 
the documents. The complaints as to the manner in which 
England understands neutrality must be continually renewed. 
The English Government does not forbid the export of horses, 
though only France can avail herself of that facility. Colliers 
are allowed to load at Newcastle and to supply fuel for the 
French men-of-war cruising in the North Sea. English car- 
tridge factories are working for the French army under the 
eyes of the Government. In Germany the painful feeling has 
become more and more widespread that, under Lord Gran- 


ville, England, while nominally maintaining neutrality, favours 
France in the manner in which it is really observed." 

About II P.M. I was again called to the Minister. The 
reports respecting the English coalships to be at once sent by 
a Chancery attendant to Wolf's Telegraphic Agency for circu- 
lation to the newspapers. 

In this connection may be mentioned an Embassy report 
from London, dated the 30th of July, to the following effect: 
Lord Granville had asked the Ambassador if he had not stirred 
up the authorities in Berlin against the English Government. 
The reply was in the negative. The Ambassador had only 
carried out his instructions. Public opinion in Germany in- 
fluenced the Government, just as the German press influenced 
public opinion. The manner in which neutrality was observed 
on the part of England had excited the greatest indignation 
in Germany. The action of the English Government, which 
indeed recognised that France was in the wrong, but failed to 
give expression to that conviction, was also bitterly resented 
there. Granville replied that once it had been decided to 
remain neutral that neutrality must be maintained in every 
respect. If the export of contraband of war were forbidden, 
the French would regard it as an act of one-sided hostility, 
while at the same time it would ruin English trade in the 
branches affected by such prohibition, and favour American 
manufacturers. For the present, every one in England ap- 
proved of the maintenance of neutrality, and therefore in a 
general way no change was possible in these matters. At the 
same time, the English Government was ready, in case of com- 
plaints reaching them in an official way respecting any acts of 
illegality, to institute an inquiry into the facts and secure the 
punishment of the guilty parties. It did not seem impossible 
to prevent the supply of English coal to French men-of-war. 
Next Monday a Bill was to be submitted to Parliament for the 
amendment of the laws regulating neutrality. The report con- 
cluded as follows : " England is in many respects well disposed 
towards us, but will for the present remain neutral. If we 
make further attacks upon English public opinion through our 
official press in connection with these grievances, it will serve 
no purpose but to conjure up future difficulties. Granville is 
not what we might desire, but he is not prejudiced against us. 


He may become so, however, if he is further provoked by 
us. We can hardly succeed in overthrowing him, and if we did 
his probable successor would in all likelihood be much worse 
than himself." 

July 24th. — I am instructed by the Count to send an 
article to the Koelnische Zeitting respecting the Dutch coal 
question. He gave me the following information on this sub- 
ject : " Holland asked us to again permit the passage of 
Prussian coal down the Rhine, and requested that a large 
transport of Rhenish coal intended for Holland should be 
allowed to pass the frontier. It was only to be used in fac- 
tories, and the Government of the Netherlands would prohibit 
its reexportation. Prussia willingly agreed to this, but shortly 
afterwards it was ascertained that foreign vessels were being 
loaded with coal in Dutch ports, and the Government of the 
Netherlands subsequently informed us that in promising to 
prevent the reexportation they had overlooked the circumstance 
that their Treaty with France did not permit this. Thereupon 
as a matter of course the export of Prussian coal to Holland 
was prohibited. In the interval, however, they seem to have 
secured a sufficient supply in Holland to provide the French 
fleet for a considerable time. That is a very suspicious method 
of observing the neutrality promised by the gentlemen at the 

Bucher brings me the following paragraph from the Chief, 
which is to be inserted in the Spenersche Zeitung^ or some other 
non-official organ and afterwards in the North German Corre- 
spondence: * In 185 1 3, litQrsivy gamtn in Paris was commissioned 
to conjure up the Red Terror in a pamphlet, which proved very 
useful to the President Louis Napoleon, enabling him to escape 
from a debtors' prison and ascend the Imperial throne. The 
Due de Grammont now tries to raise the Spanish Terror in 
order to save the Emperor from the necessity of accounting for 
the hundred millions which he diverted from the State Treasury 
into his private purse. The literary gentleman in question was 
made a Prefect. What reward can Grammont have had in 
view ? " 

Evening. — The Minister wishes an article to be prepared 
for circulation m the German press describing the French and 
French policy under the Emperor Napoleon. This is to be 


first sent to the Spenersche Zeitimg^ while the Literary Bureau 
is to secure the insertion of the principal points in a condensed 
form in the Magdeburg papers and a number of the smaller 
journals to-morrow. The Count said (literally) : " The French 
are not so astute as people generally think. As a nation they 
resemble certain individuals amongst our lower classes. They 
are narrow-minded and brutal, — great physical force, boastful 
and insolent, winning the admiration of men of their own stamp 
through their audacity and violence. Here in Germany the 
French are also considered clever by persons who do not think 
deeply, and their ministers are regarded as great statesmen be- 
cause of their insolent interference in the affairs of the whole 
world, and their desire to rule everywhere. Audacity is always 
impressive. People think their success is due to shrewd politi- 
cal calculation, but it is actually due to nothing else than the 
fact that they always keep 300,000 soldiers ready to back up 
their policy. That alone, and not their political intelligence, 
has enabled them to carry things with such a high hand. We 
must get rid of this fiction. ... In political affairs the French 
are in the fullest sense of the word a narrow-minded nation. 
They have no idea how things look outside of France, and learn 
nothing about it in their schools. The French educational 
establishments, for the greater glory of France, leave their 
pupils in the crassest ignorance as to everything beyond her 
frontiers, and so they have not the slightest knowledge of their 
neighbours; that is the case with the Emperor, or at least he is 
not much better, to say nothing of Grammont, who is an ass 
{Rindvieh). Napoleon is ignorant at bottom, although he has 
been educated in German schools. His * Caesar ' was intended 
to conceal that fact. He has forgotten everything. His policy 
was always stupid. The Crimean War was against the interests 
of France, which demanded an alliance or at least a good under- 
standing with Russia. It was the same with the war in Italy. 
There he created a rival in the Mediterranean, North Africa, 
Tunis, etc., who may one day prove dangerous. The Italian 
people is much more gifted than the French, only less numer- 
ous. The war in Mexico and the attitude adopted in 1866 were 
blunders, and doubtless in storming about as they do at present 
the French feel conscious that they have committed another 


July 25///. — At II o'clock this morning, Count Bismarck 
and his family took the Holy Communion at their residence. 
He asked whether any one in our bureau desired to join them, 
but no one offered to do so. I was for a moment tempted, but 
reconsidered the matter. It might look as if I wished to recom- 
mend myself. 

Copies of the Benedetti draft Treaty are sent to Auber (the 
French Press Agency) and Heide. 

Jidy 2'jtJi. — It is to be stated either in the Norddeiitsche or 
the Spenersche Zeitung that secrecy respecting confidential com- 
munications between great States is, as a rule, more carefully 
observed and maintained than the public imagines. Neverthe- 
less, the French misrepresentation of Prussia's attitude in the 
affair of the candidature for the Spanish throne (in Grammont's 
despatch of the 2 1 st of July) obliged the authorities here to dis- 
regard these considerations of discretion. Benedetti's proposal 
has therefore been published, and it may be followed by other 
documents of the same description. The Count concluded his 
directions as follows : *' We are at least entitled to tell the truth 
with discretion in presence of such indiscreet lies." 

Bucher brings me from the Minister the following sketch of 
a paragraph for the press : ** The despatch of the Due de Gram- 
mont, the full text of which now lies before us, is a desperate 
attempt to prove that the origin of the situation which they have 
themselves created was the Hohenzollern candidature, and to 
conceal the motive which they confessed on many other occa- 
sions — namely, the conquest by France of the left bank of the 
Rhine and of Belgium. The inconsistency of the whole assertion 
is made clear by the circumstance that the offer of the Spanish 
throne to the hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern was first made 
in a letter dated the 14th of February of the present year. 
Therefore, there can be no connection between this offer and 
the conversations in March, 1869, between Benedetti and Von 
Thiele, which were the outcome of aspirations or proposals fre- 
quently ventilated in the press (also with reference to Prince 
Frederick Charles). In 185 1 the President Louis Napoleon suc- 
ceeded in obtaining credence both at home and abroad for cer- 
tain fictions, so long as that was necessary for the attainment 
of his object. The fiction which is now circulated, at a some- 
what late hour, to the effect that the Prince of Hohenzollern 


was the candidate of Prussia is refuted in advance by the fact, 
which has been well known for a long time, that the Prussian 
Government as well as the ofificials of the Confederation had 
absolutely no knowledge of, or connection with, the Spanish 
proposal. It was resolutely opposed by his Majesty the King, 
as the head of the Hohenzollern family, until last June, when 
at Ems he reluctantly withdrew his opposition when it was 
represented to him that otherwise Spain would fall into the 
hands of the Republicans. We find it difficult to understand 
what interest the French Government can have in circulating 
such lies now that war has actually broken out. The attempt 
of the Due de Grammont to conjure up the spectre of a restora- 
tion of Charles V.'s monarchy can only be explained by the 
complete isolation of the French mind. That apparition had 
no sooner manifested itself than it vanished before the angry 
contempt of public opinion, which resented being supposed 
capable of such credulity." 

The Chancellor desires to see the following considerations 
reproduced in the evening papers : " The Benedetti document 
is by no means the only one dealing with the matter in ques- 
tion. Negotiations were also carried on by others, as, for 
instance, by Prince Napoleon during his stay in Berlin. Since 
French diplomacy was ignorant enough to believe that a Ger- 
man Minister who followed a national policy could for a 
moment think of entertaining such proposals, it had only 
itself to thank if it was befooled with its own schemes so long 
as such fooling appeared calculated to promote the maintenance 
of peace. Even those who pursue the most ignorant and nar- 
row-minded policy must ultimately come to recognise that they 
have hoped for and demanded impossibilities. The bellicose 
temper which now prevails in Paris dates from such recogni- 
tion. The hopes of German statesmen that they would be able 
to befool the French until a peaceful regime was established in 
France by some transformation of her despotic constitution 
have unfortunately not been realised. Providence willed it 
otherwise. Since we can no longer maintain peace it is not 
necessary now to preserve silence. For we preserved silence 
solely in order to promote the continuance, and if possible the 
permanency, of peaceful relations. ..." The Minister con- 
cluded : " You can add, too, that the question of French Swit- 




zerland was also mentioned in the negotiations, and that it was 
hinted that in Piedmont they knew quite well where the French 
districts begin and the Italian districts leave off." 

July 2Zth. — I see the original of Benedetti's draft Treaty, 
and I am to receive a photographic copy of it similar to that 
which has been prepared for distribution amongst foreign 

Bucher handed me the following sketch of an article, re- 
ceived by him from the Minister, which is to be inserted in 
some organ not apparently connected with the Government : 
" Those who now hold power in Spain declare that they do not 
wish to interfere in the conflict between Germany and France, 
because the latter might create internal difficulties for them. 
They allow Bonaparte to prohibit their election of the King of 
their own choice. They look on calmly with folded arms while 
other nations go to war over a difference that has arisen out of 
a question of Spanish domestic interest. We had formed quite 
another opinion of the Castilian gentilhomme. The Spanish 
temper seems to resemble that of Gil Bias, who wanted to fight 
a duel with the army surgeon but observed that the latter had 
an unusually long rapier." 

July z^th, 10 P.M. — The Minister desires that attention 
should be again called to the manner in which the French are 
looking about for foreign assistance, and he once more gives a 
few points : " France is begging in all directions, and wants in 
particular to take Italy into her pay. Here, as everywhere, she 
speculates upon the worst elements, while the better elements 
will have nothing to do with her. How does that harmonise 
with the greatness of the nation which * stands at the head of 
civilisation,' and whose historians always point out that it was 
only defeated at Leipzig because its opponents were four to 
one } At that time they had half Germany, Italy, Holland, and 
the present Belgium on their side. To-day, when they stand 
alone, they go round hat in hand to every door, and seek 
mercenaries to reinforce their own army, in which they can 
therefore have but very little confidence." 

July list. — This morning received from Roland one of the 
photographic copies of the Benedetti draft. 





On the 31st of July, 1870, at 5.30 p.m., the Chancellor, ac- 
companied by his wife and his daughter, the Countess Marie, 
left his residence in the Wilhelm Strasse to take the train for 
Mayence, on his way to join King William at the seat of war. 
He was to be followed by some Councillors of the Foreign 
Office, a Secretary of the Central Bureau, two deciphering 
clerks, and three or four Chancery attendants. The remainder 
of us only accompanied him with our good wishes as, with his 
helmet on his head, he passed out between the two sphinxes 
that guard the door steps and entered his carriage. I also had 
resigned myself to the idea of following the course of the army 
on the map and in the newspapers. A few days after the 
declaration of war, on my begging the Minister to take me with 
him in case I could be of use, he replied that that depended on 
the arrangements at headquarters. At the moment there was 
no room for me. My luck, however, soon improved. 

On the evening of the 6th of August a telegram was re- 
ceived at the Ministry giving news of the victory at Worth. 
Half an hour later I took the good tidings still fresh and warm 
to a group of acquaintances who waited in a restaurant to 
hear how things were going. Everybody knows how willingly 
Germans celebrate the receipt of good news. My tidings were 
very good indeed, and many (perhaps most) of my friends 
celebrated them too long. The result was that next morning I 
was still in bed when the Foreign Office messenger Lorenz 
brought me a copy of a telegraphic despatch, according to 
which I was to start for headquarters immediately. Privy 
Councillor Hepke wrote: — " Dear Doctor, Get ready to leave 



for headquarters in the course of the day." The telegram ran 
as follows: — " Mayence, 6th of August, 7.36 p.m. Let Dr. 
Busch come here and bring with him a Correspondent for the 
National Zeitung and one for the Kreuzzeitimg. Bismarck." 
Hepke allowed me to select these correspondents. 

I had therefore after all attained to the very height of good 
fortune. In a short time I had provided for all essentials, and 
by midday I had received my pass, legitimation, and free ticket 
for all military trains. That evening a little after 8 o'clock I 
left Berlin together with the two correspondents whom the 
Minister wished to accompany me, namely, Herr von Ungarn- 
Sternberg, for the Kreuzzeitung^ and Professor Constantine 
Roeszler for the National Zeitung. In the beginning we 
travelled first class, afterwards third, and finally in a freight 
car. There were numerous long halts, which in our impatience 
seemed still longer. It was only at 6 o'clock on the morning 
of the 9th of August that we reached Frankfort. As we had 
to wait here for some hours, we had time to inquire where the 
headquarters were now established. The local Commandant 
was unable to inform us, nor could the Telegraph Director say 
anything positive on the subject. He thought they might be 
still in Homburg, but more probably they had moved on to 

It was midday before we again started, in a goods train, by 
way of Darmstadt, past the Odenwald, whose peaks were cov- 
ered with heavy white fog, by Mannheim and towards Neustadt. 
As we proceeded our pace became gradually slower, and the 
stoppages, which were occasioned by seemingly endless lines of 
carriages transporting troops, became more and more frequent. 
Wherever a pause occurred in the rush of this onward wave of 
modern national migration, crowds hurried to the train, cheering 
and flourishing their hats and handkerchiefs. Food and drink 
were brought to the soldiers by people of all sorts and conditions, 
including poor old women — needy but good-hearted creatures 
whose poverty only allowed them to offer coffee and dry black 

We crossed the Rhine during the night. As day began to 
break, we noticed a well-dressed gentleman lying near us on the 
floor, who was speaking English to a man whom we took to be 
his servant. We discovered that he was a London banker 

VOL. I.— E 


named Deichmann. He also was anxious to get to head- 
quarters in order to beg Roon's permission to serve as a vol- 
unteer in a cavalry regiment, for which purpose he had brought 
his horses with him. The line being blocked near Hosbach, on 
Deichmann's advice we took a country cart to Neustadt, a little 
town which was swarming with soldiers — Bavarian riflemen, 
Prussian Red Hussars, Saxon and other troops. 

It was here that we took our first warm meal since our 
departure from Berlin. Hitherto we had had to content our- 
selves with cold meat, while at night our attempts to sleep on 
the bare wooden benches with a portmanteau for a pillow were 
not particularly successful. However, we were proceeding to 
the seat of war, and I had experienced still greater discomforts 
on a tour of far less importance. 

After a halt of one hour at Neustadt, the train crossed the 
Hardt through narrow valleys and a number of tunnels, passing 
the defile in which Kaiserlautern lies. From this point until 
we reached Homburg it poured in torrents almost without ces- 
sation, so that when we arrived at that station at lo o'clock the 
little place seemed to be merely a picture of night and water. 
As we stepped out of the train and waded through swamp and 
pool with our luggage on our shoulders, we stumbled over the 
rails and rather felt than saw our way to the inn "Zur Post." 
There we found every bed occupied and not a mouthful left to 
eat. We ascertained, however, that had even the conditions 
been more favourable we could not have availed ourselves of 
them, as we were informed that the Count had gone on with 
the King, and was at that moment probably in Saarbrueck. 
There was no time to be lost if we were to overtake him before 
he left Germany. 

It was far from pleasant to have to turn out once more into 
the deluge, but we were encouraged to take our fate philosophi- 
cally by considering the still worse fate of others. In the tap- 
room of the " Post " the guests slept on chairs enveloped in a 
thick steam redolent of tobacco, beer, and smoking lamps and 
the still more pungent odour of damp clothes and leather. In 
a hollow near the station we saw the watchfire of a large camp 
half quenched by the rain — Saxon countrymen of ours, if we 
were rightly informed. While wading our way back to the 
train we caught the gleam of the helmets and arms of a Prus- 

1870] SLOW PROGRESS 5 1 

sian battalion which stood in the pouring rain opposite the rail- 
way hotel. Thoroughly drenched and not a little tired we at 
length found shelter in a wagon, where Deichmann cleared a 
corner of the floor on which we too could lie, and found a few 
handfuls of straw to serve us as a pillow. My other two com- 
panions were not so fortunate. They had to manage as best 
they could on the top of boxes and packages with the postmen 
and transport soldiers. It was evident that the poor Professor, 
who had grown very quiet, was considerably affected by these 

About I o'clock the train set itself slowly in motion. By 
daybreak, after several stoppages, we reached the outskirts of 
a small town with a beautiful old church. A mill lay in the 
valley through which we could also see the windings of the 
road that led to Saarbrueck. We were told that this town was 
only two or three miles off, so that we were near our journey's 
end. Our locomotive, however, seemed to be quite out of 
breath, and as the headquarters might at any moment leave 
Saarbrueck and cross the frontier, where we could get no rail- 
way transport and in all probability no other means of convey- 
ance, our impatience and anxiety increased, and our tempers 
were not improved by a clouded sky and drizzling rain. Hav- 
ing waited in vain nearly two hours for the train to start, Deich- 
mann again came to our rescue. After a short disappearance 
he returned with a miller who had arranged to carry us to the 
town in his own trap. The prudent fellow, however, made 
Deichmann promise that the soldiers should not take his horses 
from him. 

During the drive the miller told us that the Prussians were 
understood to have already pushed on their outposts as far as 
the neighbourhood of Metz. Between 9 and 10 o'clock we 
reached Sanct Johann, a suburb of Saarbrueck, where we noticed 
very few signs of the French cannonade a few days ago, although 
it otherwise presented a lively and varied picture of war times. 
A huddled and confused mass of canteen carts, baggage waggons, 
soldiers on horse and foot, and ambulance attendants with their 
red crosses, etc., filled the streets. Some Hessian dragoon and 
artillery regiments marched through, the cavalrymen singing, 
'^ Morgenroth leuchtest mir zum fruehen Tod!'' (Dawn, thou 
lightest me to an early grave). 


At the hotel where we put up I heard that the Chancellor 
was still in the town, and lodged at the house of a merchant and 
manufacturer named Haldy. I had therefore missed nothing by 
all our delays, and had fortunately at length reached harbour. 
Not a minute too soon, however, as on going to report my arrival 
I was informed by Count Bismarck-Bohlen, the Minister's cousin, 
that they intended to move on shortly after midday. I bade 
good-bye to my companions from Berlin, as there was no room 
for them in the Chancellor's suite, and also to our London friend, 
whose patriotic offer General Roon was regretfully obliged to 
decline. After providing for the safety of my luggage, I pre- 
sented myself to the Count, who was just leaving to call upon 
the King. I then went to the Bureau to ascertain if I could be 
of any assistance. There was plenty to do. Every one had 
his hands full, and I was immediately told off to make a trans- 
lation for the King of Queen Victoria's Speech from the Throne, 
which had just arrived. I was highly interested by a declaration 
contained in a despatch to St. Petersburg, which I had to dic- 
tate to one of our deciphering clerks, although at the time I 
could not quite understand it. It was to the effect that we 
should not be satisfied with the mere fall of Napoleon. 

That looked like a foreshadowing of some miracle. 

Strasburg ! and perhaps the Vosges as our frontier ! Who 
could have dreamed of it three weeks before ? 

In the meantime the weather had cleared up. Shortly be- 
fore one o'clock, under a broiling sun, three four-horse carriages 
drew up before our door, with soldiers riding as postilions. One 
was for the Chancellor, another for the Councillors and Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen, and the third for the Secretaries and Deci- 
pherers. The two Councillors and the Count having decided 
to ride, I took a place in their carriage, as I also did subse- 
quently whenever they went on horseback. Five minutes later 
we crossed the stream and entered the Saarbrueck high road, 
which led past the battlefield of the 6th of August. Within 
half an hour of our departure from Sanct Johann we were on 
French soil. There were still many traces of the sanguinary 
struggle that had raged there five days ago — branches torn 
from the trees by artillery fire, fragments of accoutrements and 
uniforms, the crops trampled into the earth, broken wheels, pits 
dug in the ground by exploding shells, and small wooden crosses 



roughly tied together, probably marking the graves of officers 
and others. So far as one could observe, all the dead had 
been already buried. 

Here at the commencement of our journey through France 
I will break off my narrative for a while in order to say a few 
words about the Foreign Office Field Bureau and the way in 
which the Chancellor and his people travelled, lodged, worked, 
and lived. The Minister had selected to accompany him Herr 
Abeken and Herr von Keudell, Count Hatzfeld, who had pre- 
viously spent several years at the Embassy in Paris, and Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen, all four Privy Councillors of Legation. After 
these came the Geheim-Sekretdr Bolsing of the Centralbureau, 
the two deciphering clerks, Willisch and St. Blanquart, and 
finally myself. At Ferri^res our list of Councillors was com- 
pleted by Lothar, Bucher, and a new deciphering clerk, Herr 
Wiehr, also joined us. At Versailles the number was further 
increased by Herr von Holstein, subsequently Councillor of 
Embassy, the young Count Wartensleben, and Privy Councillor 
Wagner, the latter, however, not being employed on Foreign 
Office work. Herr Bolsing, who had fallen ill, was replaced by 
Geheim-Sekretar Wollman, and the accumulation of work after- 
wards required a fourth deciphering clerk. Our " Chief," as 
the Chancellor was usually called by the staff, had kindly ar- 
ranged that all his fellow-workers. Secretaries as well as Coun- 
cillors, should in a certain sense be members of his household. 
When circumstances permitted, we lodged in the same house 
and had the honour of dining at his table. 

Throughout the whole war the Chancellor wore uniform. 
It was generally the well-known undress of the yellow regiment 
of heavy Landwehr cavalry. During the early months of the 
campaign he as a rule only wore the Commander's Cross of 
the Order of the Red Eagle, to which he afterwards added the 
Iron Cross. I only saw him a couple of times in a dressing 
gown. That was at Versailles, when he was unwell, the only 
time, as far as I know, that anything ailed him throughout the 
whole war. When travelling he was usually accompanied in 
the carriage by Herr Abeken, but on some occasions he took 
me with him for several days in succession. He was very 
easy to please in the matter of his quarters and was willing to 
put up with the most modest shelter when better was not to be 


had. Indeed, it once happened that there was no bedstead and 
that his bed had to be made upon the floor. 

Our carriages usually followed immediately after those of 
the King's suite. We started generally about lo o'clock in the 
morning, and sometimes covered as much as sixty kilometres in 
the day. On reaching our quarters for the night our first duty 
was to set about preparing an office, in which there was seldom 
any lack of work, especially when we had the Field Telegraph 
at our disposal. When communications were thus established, 
the Chancellor again became what, with short intervals, he had 
been throughout this entire period : namely, the central figure 
of the whole civilised European world. Even in those places 
where we only stayed for one night he, incessantly active him- 
self, kept his assistants almost continuously engaged until a 
late hour. Messengers were constantly going and coming with 
telegrams and letters. Councillors were drawing up notes, 
orders, and directions under instructions from their chief, and 
these were being copied, registered, ciphered, and deciphered 
in the Chancellerie. Reports, questions, newspaper articles, 
etc., streamed in from every direction, most of them requiring 
instant attention. 

Never, perhaps, was the well-nigh superhuman power of 
work shown by the Chancellor, his creative, receptive, and 
critical activity, his ability to deal with the most difficult prob- 
lems, always finding the right and the only solution, more strik- 
ingly evident than during this period. The inexhaustible nature 
of his powers was all the more astounding, as he took but little 
sleep. Except when a battle was expected and he rose at day- 
break to join the King and the army, the Chancellor rose rather 
late, as had been his custom at home, usually about lo o'clock. 
On the other hand, he spent the night at work, and only fell 
asleep as daylight began to appear. He was often hardly out 
of bed and dressed before he commenced work again, read- 
ing despatches and making notes upon them, looking through 
newspapers, giving instructions to his Councillors and others, 
and setting them their various tasks or even writing or dic- 
tating. Later on there were visits to be received, audiences 
to be granted, explanations to be given to the King. Then 
followed a further study of despatches and maps, the correction 
of articles, drafts hurriedly prepared with his well-known big 


pencil, letters to be written, information to be telegraphed, or 
published in the newspapers, and in the midst of it all the 
reception of visitors who could not be refused a hearing yet 
must occasionally have been unwelcome. It was only after 2, 
or even 3 o'clock, in places where we made a longer stay, that 
the Chancellor allowed himself a little recreation by taking a 
ride in the neighbourhood. On his return he set to work again, 
continuing until dinner time, between 5.30 and 6 p.m. In an 
hour and a half at latest he went back to his writing-desk, where 
he frequently remained till midnight. 

In his manner of taking his meals, as in his sleep, the Count 
differed from the general run of mankind. Early in the day he 
took a cup of tea and one or two eggs, and from that time until 
evening he, as a rule, tasted nothing more. He seldom took 
any luncheon and rarely came to tea, which was usually served 
between 10 and 11 at night. With some exceptions, he there- 
fore had practically but one meal in the twenty-four hours, but, 
like Frederick the Great, he then ate with appetite. Diplomats 
are proverbially fond of a good table, being scarcely surpassed 
in this respect by the clergy. It is part of their business, as 
they often have important guests who, for one reason or another, 
must be put in good humour, and it is universally recognised 
that nothing is better calculated to that end than a well-filled 
cellar and a dinner which shows the skill of a highly trained 
chef. Count Bismarck also kept a good table, which, when cir- 
cumstances permitted, became quite excellent. That was the 
case for instance at Rheims, Meaux, Ferri^res, and Versailles, 
where the genius of our cook in the Commissariat uniform 
created breakfasts and dinners that made any one accustomed 
to a homely fare feel, as he did justice to them, that he was 
at length resting in Abraham's bosom, particularly when some 
specially fine brand of champagne was added to the other 
gracious gifts of Providence. During the last five months our 
table was also enriched by presents from home, where, as was 
only right and proper, our people showed how fondly they 
remembered the Chancellor by sending him plentiful supplies 
of good things, both fluid and solid, geese, venison, fish, pheas- 
ants, monumental pastry, excellent beer, rare wines, and other 
acceptable delicacies. 

At first only the Councillors wore uniform, Herr von Keu- 


dell that of the Cuirassiers, and Count Bismarck-Bohlen that of 
the Dragoon Guards, while Count Hatzfeld and Herr Abeken 
wore the undress uniform of the Foreign Office. It was after- 
wards suggested that the whole of the Minister's personnel, with 
the exception of the two gentlemen first mentioned, who were 
also officers, should be allowed the same privilege. The Chief 
gave his consent, so the people of Versailles had an opportunity 
of seeing our Chancery attendants in a dark blue tunic with two 
rows of buttons, black collar trimmed with velvet, and a cap of 
the same colour, while our Councillors, Secretaries, and Deci- 
pherers carried swords with a gold sword knot. The elderly 
Privy Councillor Abeken, who could make his horse prance as 
proudly as any cavalry officer, looked wonderfully warlike in 
this costume, in which, I fancy, he delighted not a little. It was 
to him just as great a pleasure to show off in all this military 
bravery as it had been to travel through the Holy Land dressed 
up as an Oriental, although he did not understand a word of 
Turkish or Arabic. 



In the preceding chapter I broke off my narrative at the 
French frontier. We recognised that we had crossed it by the 
notices posted in the villages, " D^partement de la Moselle." 
The white roads were thronged with conveyances, and in every 
hamlet troops were billeted. In these hilly and partially 
wooded districts we saw small camps being pitched here and 
there. After about two hours' drive we reached Forbach, 
which we passed through without stopping. In the streets 
through which we drove the signboards were almost entirely 
French, although the names were chiefly German. Some of 
the inhabitants who were standing at their doors greeted us in 
passing. Most of them, however, looked sulky, which, although 
it did not add to their beauty, was natural enough, as they 
had evidently plenty of soldiers to provide quarters for. The 
windows were all full of Prussians in blue uniforms. We thus 
jogged on, up hill and down dale, reaching Saint Avoid about 
half-past four. Here we took up lodgings, Chancellor and all, 
with a M. Laity, at No. 301 Rue des Charrons. It was a one- 
story house, but rather roomy, with a well-kept fruit and 
vegetable garden at the back. The proprietor, who was said 
to be a retired officer, and appeared to be well to do, had gone 
away with his wife the day before, leaving only a maid and an 
old woman, who spoke nothing but French. In half an hour 
we had fixed up our office and chosen our sleeping quarters. 
Work began without delay. As there was nothing to be done 
in my department, I tried to assist in deciphering the de- 
spatches, an operation which offers no particular difficulties. 

At seven o'clock we dined with the Chancellor in a little 
room looking out on a small courtyard with some flower beds. 
The conversation at table was very lively, the Minister having 
most to say. He did not consider a surprise impossible, as he 



had satisfied himself during his walk that our outposts were 
only three-quarters of an hour from the town and very wide 
apart. He had asked at one post where the next was stationed, 
but the men did not know. He said, " While I was out I saw 
a man with an axe on his shoulder following close at my heels. 
I kept my hand on my sword, as one cannot tell in certain 
circumstances what may happen ; but in any case I should 
have been ready first." He remarked later on that our land- 
lord had left all his cupboards full of underclothing, adding, 
" If this house should be turned into an ambulance hospital, his 
wife's fine underlinen will be torn up for lint and bandages, 
and quite properly. But then they will say that Count Bis- 
marck took the things away with him." 

We came to speak of the disposal of the troops in action. 
The Minister said that General Steinmetz had shown himself 
on that occasion to be self-willed and disobedient. " Like 
Vogel von Falkenstein, his habit of taking the law into his 
own hands will do him harm in spite of the laurels he won at 

There was cognac, red wine, and a sparkling Mayence wine 
on the table. Somebody mentioned beer, saying that probably 
we should be unable to obtain it. The Minister replied, " That 
is no loss ! The excessive consumption of beer is deplorable. 
It makes men stupid, lazy, and useless. It is responsible for 
the democratic nonsense spouted over the tavern tables. A 
good rye whiskey is very much better." 

I cannot now remember how or in what connection we came 
to speak about the Mormons. The Minister was surprised at 
their polygamy, " as the German race is not equal to so much 
— Orientals seem to be more potent." He wondered how the 
United States could tolerate the existence of such a polygamous 
sect. The Count took this opportunity of speaking of religious 
liberty in general, declaring himself very strongly in favour of 
it. But, he added, it must be exercised in an impartial spirit. 
" Every one must be allowed to seek salvation in his own way. 
I shall propose that one day, and Parliament will certainly 
approve. As a matter of course, however, the property of the 
Church must remain with the old churches that acquired it. 
Whoever retires must make a sacrifice for his conviction, or 
rather his unbelief." " People think little the worse of Catho- 


lies for being orthodox, and have no objection whatever to Jews 
being so. It is altogether different with Lutherans, however, 
and that church is constantly charged with a spirit of persecu- 
tion if it rejects unorthodox members. But it is considered 
quite in order that the orthodox should be persecuted and 
scoffed at in the press and in daily life." 

After dinner the Chancellor and Councillors took a walk in 
the garden, from which a large building distinguished by a flag 
with the Geneva Cross was visible at a little distance to the 
right. We could see a number of nuns at the windows, who 
were watching us through opera glasses. It was evidently a 
convent that had been turned into a hospital. In the evening 
one of the deciphering clerks expressed great anxiety as to the 
possibility of a surprise, and we discussed what should be done 
with the portfolios containing State papers and ciphers in such 
circumstances. I tried to reassure them, promising to do my 
utmost either to save or destroy the papers, should necessity 

There was no occasion for anxiety. The night passed 
quietly. Next morning as we were at lunch a green Feldjdger, 
or Royal Courier, arrived with despatches from Berlin. Although 
such messengers usually make rapid progress, this one had not 
travelled any quicker than I had done in my fear to arrive too 
late. He left on Monday, the 8th of August, and had several 
times taken a special conveyance, yet he had spent nearly four 
days on the way, as it was now the 12th. I again assisted the 
Decipherers. Afterwards, while the Minister was with the King, 
I visited the large and beautiful town church with the Coun- 
cillors, the chaplain showing us round. In the afternoon, while 
the Minister was out for a ride, we inspected the Prussian artil- 
lery park on a neighbouring height. 

We dined at four, on the Chancellor's return. He had 
ridden a long way in order to see his two sons, who were serv- 
ing as privates in a regiment of dragoon guards, but found that 
the German cavalry had already pushed forward towards the 
upper reaches of the Moselle. He was in excellent spirits, 
evidently owing to the good fortune which continued to favour 
our cause. In the course of the conversation, which turned on 
mythology, the Chief said he could never endure Apollo, who 
flayed Marsyas out of conceit and envy, and slew the children 

6o ALARM IN PARIS [Aug. 14 

of Niobe for similar reasons. "He is the genuine type of a 
Frenchman, one who cannot bear that another should play the 
flute better than, or as well as, himself." Nor was Apollo's 
manner of dealing with the Trojans to the Count's taste. The 
straightforward Vulcan would have been his man, or, better 
still, Neptune — perhaps because of the Qtws ego ! — but he did 
not say. 

After rising from table we had good news to telegraph to 
Berlin for circulation throughout the whole country, namely, 
that there were ten thousand prisoners in our hands on the 7th 
of August, and that a great effect had been produced on the 
enemy by the victory at Saarbrueck. Somewhat later we had 
further satisfactory particulars to send home. The Minister of 
Finance in Paris, evidently in consequence of the rapid advance 
of the German forces, had invited the French people to deposit 
their gold in the Bank of France instead of keeping it in their 

There was also some talk of a proposed proclamation for- 
bidding and finally aboHshing the conscription in the districts 
occupied by the German troops. We also heard from Madrid 
that the Montpensier party, some politicians belonging to the 
Liberal Union such as Rios Rosas and Topete, as well as various 
other party leaders, were exerting every effort to bring about 
the immediate convocation of the representative assembly in 
order that the Provisional Government should be put an end 
to by the election of a King. The Due de Montpensier, whom 
they had in view as a candidate, was already in the Spanish 
capital. The Government, however, obstinately opposed this 

Early next morning we broke up our quarters and started 
for the small town of Falquemont, which we now call Falken- 
berg. The road was thronged with long lines of carts, artillery, 
ambulances, military police, and couriers. While some detach- 
ments of infantry marched along the highway, others crossed 
the stubble fields to the right, being guided by wisps of straw 
tied to poles stuck in the ground. Now and then we saw men 
fall out of the ranks and others lying in the furrows, fagged out, 
while a pitiless August sun glared down from a cloudless sky. 
Thick yellow clouds of dust raised by the marching of the 
troops followed us into Falkenberg, a place of about two thou- 


sand inHabitants, where I put up at the house of the baker, 
Schmidt. We lost sight of the Minister in the crowd and dust, 
and I only afterwards ascertained that he had gone on to see 
the King at the village of Herny. The march of the troops 
through the town continued almost uninterruptedly the whole 
day. A Saxon regiment, which was stationed quite near us, 
frequently sent their caterers to our baker for bread, but the 
supply was soon exhausted owing to the enormous demand. 

In the afternoon some Prussian hussars brought in a num- 
ber of prisoners in a cart, including a Turco who had exchanged 
his fez for a civilian's hat. In another part of the town we 
witnessed a brawl between a shopman and one of the female 
camp-followers who had stolen some of his goods, which she 
was obliged to restore. So far as I could see, our people 
always paid for what they asked, sometimes doing even more. 

The people where I lodged were very polite and good 
humoured. Both husband and wife spoke a German dialect, 
which was occasionally helped out with French words. From 
the sacred pictures which were hung on the walls they appeared 
to be Catholics. I had an opportunity later on of doing them 
a small service, when some of our soldiers insisted willy nilly 
upon a supply of bread, which the baker was unable to give 
them, as there were only two or three loaves in the shop. But 
I must do my countrymen the justice to say that they wanted 
the food badly, and were willing to pay for it. I proposed a 
compromise, which was accepted : each soldier was at once 
to get a good slice and as much as ever he required next 

On Sunday, the 14th of August, after luncheon, we followed 
the Minister to Herny. He had taken up his quarters in a 
whitewashed peasant's house, a little off the High Street, 
where his window opened upon a dung-hill. As the house was 
pretty large, we all joined him there. Count Hatzf eld's room 
also served as our office. The King had his quarters at the 
parish priest's, opposite the venerable old church. The village 
consisted of one long wide street, with some good municipal 
buildings. At the railway station we found everything in the 
wildest confusion, the whole place littered with torn books, 
papers, &c. Some soldiers kept watch over two French pris- 
oners. For several hours after 4 p.m. we heard the heavy 


thunder of cannon in the direction of Metz. At tea the Min- 
ister said : ** I little thought a month ago that I should be tak- 
ing tea with you, gentlemen, to-day in a farmhouse at Herny." 
Coming to speak of the Due de Grammont, the Count wondered 
that, on seeing the failure of his stupid policy against us, he 
had not joined the army in order to expiate his blunders. He 
was quite big and strong enough to serve as a soldier. " I 
should have acted differently in 1866 if things had not gone so 
well. I should have at once enlisted. Otherwise I could never 
have shown myself to the world again." 

I was frequently called to the Minister's room to receive 
instructions. Our illustrated papers were to publish pictures 
of the charge at Spichernberg, and also to deny the statement 
of the Constitutionnel that the Prussians had burnt down every- 
thing on their march, leaving nothing but ruins behind them. 
We could say with a clear conscience that we had not observed 
the least sign of this. It was also thought well to reply to 
the Neue Freie Presse^ which had hitherto been well disposed 
towards us, but had now adopted another policy, possibly 
because it had lost some subscribers who objected to its Prus- 
sophile tone, or perhaps there was something in the rumour 
that the Franco-Hungarian party intended to purchase it. The 
Chancellor, in giving instructions respecting another article of 
the Constitutionnel^ concluded as follows : " Say that there 
never was any question in the Cabinet Council of a cession 
of Saarbrueck to France. The matter never went beyond the 
stage of confidential inquiries, and it is self-evident that a 
national Minister, inspired by the national spirit, could never 
have dreamt of such a course. There might, however, have 
been some slight basis for the rumour. A misunderstanding or 
a distortion of the fact that previous to 1864 the question was 
raised whether it would not be desirable to sell the coal mines 
at Saarbrueck, which are State property, to a company. I 
wanted to meet the expenses of the Schleswig-Holstein war in 
this way. But the proposal came to nothing, owing to the 
King's objections to the transaction." 

On Monday, August isth, about 6 a.m., the Minister drove 
off in his carriage, accompanied by Count Bismarck-Bohlen, 
and followed on horseback by Herr Abeken, Herr von Keudell, 
and Count Hatzfeld. The rest of us remained behind, where 


we had plenty of work on hand, and could make ourselves 
useful in other ways. Several detachments of infantry passed 
through the village during the day, amongst them being three 
Prussian regiments and a number of Pomeranians, for the 
most part tall, handsome men. The bands played " Heil dir 
im Siegerkranz," and " Ich bin ein Preusse." One could see in 
the men's eyes the fearful thirst from which they were suffer- 
ing. We speedily organised a fire brigade with pails and jugs 
and gave as many as possible a drink of water as they marched 
by. They could not stop. Some took a mouthful in the palms 
of their hands, whilst others filled the tin cans which they 
carried with them, so that at least a few had some momentary 

Our landlord, Matthiote, knew a little German, but his wife 
only spoke the somewhat unintelligible French dialect of this 
part of Lorraine. They were thought not to be too friendly 
towards us, but the Minister had not observed it. He had only 
seen the husband and said he was not a bad fellow. " He 
asked me as he brought in the dinner if I would try his wine. 
I found it very tolerable, but on my offering to pay for it he 
declined, and would only accept payment for the food. He 
inquired as to the future frontier, and expected that they would 
be better off in the matter of taxation." 

We saw little of the other inhabitants of the village. Those 
we met were polite and communicative. An old peasant woman 
whom I asked for a light for my cigar led me into her room 
and showed me a photograph of her son in a French uniform. 
Bursting into tears she reproached the Emperor with the 
war. Hqv patwre gargon was certainly dead, and she was incon- 

The Councillors returned after three o'clock, the Minister 
himself coming in a little later. In the meantime we were 
joined by Count Henckel, a portly gentleman with a dark 
beard, Herr Bamberger, a member of the Reichstag whom 
Count Bohlen was accustomed to call the "Red Jew," and a 
Herr von Olberg, who was to be appointed to an administrative 
position of some kind. We began to feel ourselves masters of 
the conquered country and to make our arrangements accord- 
ingly. As to the portion which we at that time proposed to 
retain permanently, a telegram to St. Petersburg which I helped 


to cipher said that if it were the will of Providence we intended 
to annex Alsace. 

We heard at dinner that the King and the Chancellor, ac- 
companied by General Steinmetz, had made a reconnaissance 
which took them within about three English miles of Metz. 
The French troops outside the fortress had been driven into 
the city and forts on the previous day by Steinmetz's impetuous 
attack at Courcelles. 

In the evening, as we sat on a bench outside the door, the 
Minister joined us for a moment. He asked me for a cigar, but 
Councillor Taglioni, the King's decipherer, was quicker than 
I, which was a pity, as mine were much better. At tea the 
Chancellor mentioned in the course of conversation that on two 
occasions he had been in danger of being shot by a sentry, once 
at San Sebastian and another time at Schluesselburg. From 
this we learned that he also understood a little Spanish. Passing 
from the Schluesselburg story, he came to relate the following 
anecdote, which, however, I was unable to hear quite clearly, 
and so cannot vouch whether it occurred to the Minister him- 
self or to some one else. One day the Count was walking in 
the Summer Garden at St. Petersburg, and met the Emperor, 
with whom, as a Minister in high favour, his relations were 
somewhat unreserved. The two, after strolling on together for 
a while, saw a sentry posted in the middle of a grass plot. 
Bismarck took the liberty to ask what he was doing there. 
The Emperor did not know, and questioned the aide-de-camp, 
who was also unable to explain. The aide-de-camp was then 
sent to ask the sentry. His answer was, " It has been ordered," 
a reply which was repeated by every one of whom the aide-de- 
camp inquired. The archives were searched in vain — a sentry 
had always been posted there. At last an old footman remem- 
bered that his father had told him that the Empress Catherine 
had once seen an early snowdrop on that spot, and had given 
instructions that it should not be plucked. They could find no 
better way of preserving it than by placing a sentry to guard 
it, who was afterwards kept on as a matter of habit. The anti- 
German feeling in Holland and its causes were then referred to. 
It was thought to be partly due to the circumstance that Van 
Zuyler, when he was Dutch Minister at Berlin, had made him- 
self unpleasant, and consequently did not receive as much 


consideration as he desired, so that he possibly left us in ill- 

On the i6th of August, at 9.30 a.m., we started for Pont h 
Mousson. On the excellent high road to that town we passed 
through several villages with fine buildings, containing the 
public offices and schools. The whole way was brightened by 
detachments of soldiers, horse and foot, and a great variety of 
vehicles. Here and there also we saw small encampments. A 
little after three o'clock we reached our destination, a town of 
about eight thousand inhabitants. Passing the market-place, 
where a regiment of Saxon infantry were bivouacked, some of 
them lying on the ground on bundles of straw, we turned into 
the Rue St. Laurent. Here the Chancellor, with three of the 
Councillors, took up their residence at the corner of Rue Rau- 
graf in a little chateau overgrown with red creepers. The 
rest of the party lived a few doors off. I slept with Saint 
Blanquart in a room which was a veritable museum of natural 
history and ethnology, being filled with the most varied trophies 
from all parts of the world. 

After a hasty toilette we returned to the office. On our 
way we observed a number of notices posted on the walls, one 
announcing our victory of the fourteenth, another respecting 
the abolition of the conscription, and a third by the Mayor, 
apparently in connection with some attacks by civilians on our 
troops, warning the inhabitants to maintain a prudent attitude. 
There was also an order issued by our people strictly enjoining 
the population to keep lights in their windows at night, and to 
leave the doors of houses and shops open, and to deliver up all 
arms at the Town Hall. 

During the greater part of the afternoon we again heard the 
distant roar of cannon, and ascertained at dinner that there had 
been renewed fighting near Metz. Some one remarked that 
perhaps it would not be possible to prevent the French retiring 
to Verdun. The Minister replied, smiling, "That hardened 
reprobate Molk (Moltke) says it would be no misfortune, as 
they would then be delivered all the more surely into our 
hand" — which must mean that we could surround and anni- 
hilate them while they were retreating. Of the other remarks 
made by the Chancellor on this occasion I may mention his 
reference to the " small black Saxons, who looked so intelli- 

VOL. I. — F • 


gent " and who pleased him so much on his paying them a visit 
the day before. These were either the dark green Chasseurs 
or the 1 08th Regiment, which wore the same coloured uniform. 
"They seem to be sharp, ready fellows," he added, "and the 
fact ought to be mentioned in the newspapers." 

On the following night we were awakened several times by 
the steady tramp of infantry and the rumbling of heavy wheels 
as they rolled over the rough pavement. We heard next morn- 
ing that they were Hessians. The Minister started shortly 
after 4 a.m., intending to proceed towards Metz, where an im- 
portant battle was expected either that day or the next. As it 
appeared probable that 1 should have little to do, I availed 
myself of the opportunity to take a walk in the environs with 
Willisch. Going up stream we came upon a pontoon bridge 
erected by the Saxons, who had collected there a large number 
of conveyances, amongst others some carts from villages near 
Dresden. We swam across the clear deep river and back 

On returning to the bureau in the Rue Raugraf we found 
that the Chancellor had not yet arrived. We had news, how- 
ever, of the battle which had been fought the day before to the 
west of Metz. There were heavy losses on our side, and it was 
only with great difficulty that Bazaine was prevented from 
breaking through our lines. It was understood that the village 
of Mars la Tour was the point at which the conflict had raged 
most violently. The leaden rain of the chassepots was literally 
like a hailstorm. One of the cuirassier regiments, we were told, 
with the exaggeration which is not unusual in such cases, was 
almost utterly destroyed and the dragoon guards had also 
suffered severely. Not a single division escaped without heavy 
losses. To-day, however, we had superior numbers, as the 
French had had yesterday, and if the latter attempted another 
sortie we might expect to be victorious. 

It did not, however, appear certain, and we were accordingly 
somewhat uneasy. We could not sit still or think steadily, and, 
as in fever, we were oppressed by the same ideas, which re- 
turned again and again. We walked to the market and then to 
the bridge, where we saw the wounded, who were now gradu- 
ally coming in, those with light injuries on foot and the others 
in ambulance cars. On the road toward Metz we met a batch 


of over 120 prisoners. They were for the most part small, 
poor-looking specimens; but there were also amongst them 
some tall, broad-shouldered fellows from the guards, who could 
be recognised by the white facings of their tunics. Then once 
more to the market-place and around the garden behind the 
house, where a dog lies buried under a tombstone with the fol- 
lowing touching inscription : — 

Girard Aubert ^pitaphe k sa chienne. 
Ici tu gis, ma vieille amie, 
Tu n'es done plus pour mes vieux jours. 
O toi, ma Diane ch^rie, 
Je te pleurerai toujours. 

At length, about six o'clock, the Chancellor returned. No 
great battle had taken place that day, but it was highly prob- 
able that an engagement would occur on the morrow. The 
Chief told us at dinner that he had visited his eldest son. Count 
Herbert, in the field ambulance at Mariaville, where he was lying 
in consequence of a bullet wound in the thigh, which he had 
received during the general cavalry charge at Mars la Tour. 
After riding about for some time the Minister at length found 
his son in a farmhouse with a considerable number of other 
wounded soldiers. They were in charge of a surgeon, who was 
unable to obtain a supply of water, and who scrupled to take 
the turkeys and chickens that were running about the yard for 
the use of his patients. " He said he could not," added the 
Minister, " and all our arguments were in vain. I then threat- 
ened to shoot the poultry with my revolver and afterwards gave 
him twenty francs to pay for fifteen. At last I remembered 
that I was a Prussian General, and ordered him to do as I told 
him, whereupon he obeyed me. I had, however, to look for the 
water myself and to have it fetched in barrels." 

In the meantime the American General Sheridan had ar- 
rived in the town and asked for an interview with the Chan- 
cellor. He had come from Chicago, and lodged at the Croix 
Blanc in the market-place. At the desire of the Minister I 
called upon General Sheridan and informed him that Count 
Bismarck would be pleased to see him in the course of the even- 
ing. The General was a small, corpulent gentleman of about 
forty-five, with dark moustache and chin tuft, and spoke the 


purest Yankee dialect. He was accompanied by his aide-de- 
camp, Forsythe, and a journalist named MacLean, who served 
as an interpreter, acting at the same time as war correspondent 
for the New York World, 

During the night further strong contingents of troops 
marched through the town — Saxons, as we ascertained next 
day. In the morning we heard that the King and Chancellor 
had gone off at 3 a.m. A battle was being fought on about the 
same ground as that of the i6th, and it appears as if this en- 
gagement were to prove decisive. It will be easily understood 
that we were still more excited than we had been during the 
last few days. Uneasy, and impatient for particulars of what 
was passing, we started in the direction of Metz, going some 
four kilometres from Pont a Mousson, suffering both mentally 
and physically, from our anxiety and suspense as well as from 
the sweltering heat of a windless day and a blazing sky. We 
met numbers of the less severely wounded coming towards the 
town, singly, in couples, and in large companies. Some still 
carried their rifles, while others leant upon sticks. One had 
the red cape of a French cavalryman thrown over his shoulders. 
They had fought two days before at Mars la Tour and Gorze. 
They had only heard rumours of this day's battle, and these, 
good and bad as they happened to be, were soon circulated in 
an exaggerated form throughout the town. The good news at 
length seemed to get the upper hand, although late in the even- 
ing we had still heard nothing definite. We dined without our 
Chief, for whom we waited in vain until midnight. Later on 
we heard that he, accompanied by Sheridan and Count Bis- 
marck-Bohlen, was with the King at Rezonville. 

On Friday, August the 19th, when we ascertained for cer- 
tain that the Germans had been victorious, Abeken, Keudell, 
Hatzfeld, and I drove to the battlefield. At Gorze the Coun- 
cillors got out, intending to proceed farther on horseback. The 
narrow road was blocked with all sorts of conveyances, so that 
it was impossible for our carriage to pass. From the same 
direction as ourselves came carts with hay, straw, wood, and 
baggage, while ammunition-waggons and vehicles conveying the 
wounded were coming the other way. The latter were being 
moved into the houses, nearly all of which were turned into 
hospitals and were distinguished by the Geneva cross. At almost 


every window we could see men with their heads or arms in 

After about an hour's delay we were able to move slowly 
forward. The road to the right not far from Gorze would have 
taken us in little over half an hour to Rezonville, where I was to 
meet the Minister and our horsemen. My map, however, failed 
to give me any guidance, and I was afraid of going too near 
Metz. I therefore followed the high road further, and passing 
a farm where the house, barn, and stables were full of wounded, 
we came to the village of Mars la Tour. 

Immediately behind Gorze we had already met traces of the 
battle, — pits dug in the earth by shells, branches torn off by 
shot, and some dead horses. As we went on we came upon the 
latter more frequently, occasionally two or three together, and 
at one place a group of eight carcasses. Most of them were 
fearfully swollen, with their legs in the air, while their heads 
lay slack on the ground. There was an encampment of Saxon 
troops in Mars la Tour. The village seemed to have suffered 
little from the engagement of the i6th. Only one house was 
burned down. I asked a lieutenant of Uhlans where Rezonville 
was. He did not know. Where was the King ? " At a place 
about two hours from here," he said, " in that direction," — point- 
ing towards the east. A peasant woman having directed us the 
same way, we took that road, which brought us after a time to 
the village of Vionville. Shortly before reaching this place I 
saw for the first time one of the soldiers who had fallen in the 
late battle, a Prussian musketeer. His features were as dark as 
those of a Turco, and were fearfully bloated. All the houses in 
the village were full of men who were severely wounded. Ger- 
man and French assistant-surgeons and hospital attendants, all 
wearing the Geneva cross, were busy moving from place to 

I decided to wait there for the Minister and the Councillors, 
as I believed they must certainly pass that way soon. As I 
went towards the battlefield through a side street, I saw a human 
leg lying in a ditch, half covered with a bundle of blood-stained 
rags. Some four hundred paces from the village were two par- 
allel pits about three hundred feet in length, and neither wide 
nor deep, at which the grave diggers were still working. Near 
by had been collected a great mass of German and French dead. 


Some of the bodies were half naked, but most of them were 
still in uniform. All were of a dark grey colour and were fear- 
fully swollen from the heat. There might have been one hun- 
dred and fifty corpses in all, and others were being constantly 
unloaded from the carts. Doubtless, many had already been 
buried. Further on in the direction of Metz the ground rose 
slightly, and there in particular great numbers appeared to 
have fallen. The ground was everywhere covered with French 
caps, Prussian helmets, knapsacks, arms, uniforms, undercloth- 
ing, shoes, and paper. Here and there in the furrows of a 
potato field lay single bodies, one with a whole leg torn away, 
another with half the head blown off, while some had the right 
hand stretched out stiffly pointing towards the sky. There were 
also a few single graves, marked with a chassepot stuck in the 
ground or with a cross made from the wood of a cigar box 
roughly tied together. The effluvium was very noticeable, and 
at times, when the wind came from the direction of a heap of 
dead horses, it became unendurable. 

It was time to return to the carriage, and besides I had seen 
quite enough of the battlefield. I took another way back, but 
I was again obliged to pass further masses of the dead, this 
time all French. Near some of the bodies lay packets of letters 
that had been carried in their knapsacks. I brought some of 
these with me as a memento, amongst them being two letters 
in German from one Anastasia Stampf, of Scherrweiler, near 
Schlettstadt. These I found lying by a French soldier who 
had been stationed at Caen shortly before the outbreak of the 
war. One of them, in indifferent spelling, was dated ** The 
25th of the Hay Month, 1870," and concluded with the words, 
" We constantly commend thee to the protection of the Blessed 

It was four o'clock when I got back, and as the Minister had 
not arrived, we returned to Gorze. Here we met Keudell, who, 
with Abeken and Count Hatzfeld, had called upon the Chief at 
Rezonville. During the battle of the i8th instant, which was 
decided at Gravelotte, the Minister had, together with the King, 
ventured a considerable distance towards the front, so that for 
a time both of them were in some danger. Bismarck had after- 
wards with his own hands taken water to the wounded. At 
9 P.M. I saw him again safe and sound at Pont a Mousson, 


where we all took supper with him. Naturally, the conversa- 
tion turned for the most part on the last two battles and the 
resulting gains and losses. The French had fallen in huge 
masses. The Minister had seen our artillery mow down whole 
lines of their guards near Gravelotte. We had also suffered 
severely. Only the losses of the i6th of August were known 
up to the present. " A great many noble Prussian families will 
go into mourning," the Chief said. " Wesdehlen and Reuss lie 
in their graves, Wedell and Finkenstein are dead, Rahden 
(Lucca's husband) is shot through both cheeks, and a crowd of 
officers commanding regiments or battalions have either fallen 
or are severely wounded. The whole field near Mars la Tour 
was yesterday still white and blue with the bodies of cuirassiers 
and dragoons." In explanation of this statement, we were 
informed that near the village referred to there had been a 
great cavalry charge upon the French, who were pressing for- 
ward in the direction of Verdun. This charge was repelled by 
the enemy's infantry in Balaclava fashion, but had so far served 
its purpose that the French were kept in check until reinforce- 
ments arrived. The Chancellor's two sons had also gallantly 
ridden into that leaden hailstorm, the elder receiving no less 
than three bullets, one passing through the breast of his tunic, 
another hitting his watch, and the third lodging in his thigh. 
The younger appears to have escaped unhurt. The Chief re- 
lated, evidently with some pride, how Count Bill rescued two 
comrades who had lost their horses, dragging them out of the 
meUe in his powerful grasp and riding off with them. Still 
more German blood was shed on the i8th, but we secured the 
victory, and obtained the object of our sacrifices. That even- 
ing Bazaine's army had finally retired to Metz, and even French 
officers whom we had captured admitted that they now believed 
their cause was lost. The Saxons, who had made long marches 
on the two previous days, were able to take an important part 
in the battle near the village of Saint Privat. They now oc- 
cupied the road to Thionville, so that Metz was entirely sur- 
rounded by our troops. 

It appeared that the Chancellor did not quite approve of 
the course taken by the military authorities in both battles. 
Among other things he said that Steinmetz had abused the 
really astounding gallantry of our men — *' he was a spendthrift 


of blood." The Minister spoke with violent indignation of the 
barbarous manner in which the French conducted the war; 
they were said to have fired upon the Geneva cross and even 
upon a flag of truce. 

Sheridan seemed to have speedily got on a friendly footing 
with the Minister, as I was instructed to invite him and his two 
companions to dinner on the following evening. 

At 1 1 o'clock on the 20th of August the Chancellor received 
a visit from the Crown Prince, who was stationed with his 
troops about twenty-five English miles from Pont a Mousson 
on the road from Nancy to Chalons. In the afternoon some 
twelve hundred prisoners, including two carts conveying offi- 
cers, passed through the Rue Notre Dame in charge of a 
detachment of Prussian cuirassiers. Sheridan, Forsythe, and 
Mac Lean dined that evening with the Minister, who kept up a 
lively conversation in good English with the American Gen- 
eral. The Chief and his American guests had champagne and 
porter. The latter was drunk out of pewter mugs, one of 
which the Minister filled for me. I mention this because no 
one else at table had porter, and the gift was particularly wel- 
come, as since we left Saarbrueck we had had no beer. Sheri- 
dan, who was known as a successful soldier on the Federal side 
in the last year of the American Civil War, spoke a good deal. 
He told us of the hardships he and his companions had under- 
gone during the ride from the Rocky Mountains to Chicago, 
of the fearful swarms of mosquitoes, of a great heap of bones 
in California or thereabouts in which fossils were found, and of 
buffalo and bear hunting, &c. The Chancellor also told some 
hunting stories. One day in Finland he found himself in 
dangerous proximity to a big bear. It was white with snow 
and he had barely been able to see it. " At last I fired, how- 
ever, and the bear fell some six paces from me. But it was not 
killed, and might get up again. I knew what I had to expect, 
and so without stirring I quietly reloaded, and as soon as it 
stirred I shot it dead." 

We were very busy on the forenoon of the 21st of August, 
preparing reports and leading articles to be forwarded to 
Germany. We heard that the bearer of a flag of truce who 
was fired upon by the French was Captain or Major Verdy, of 
Moltke's General Staff, and that the trumpeter who accompa- 


nied him was wounded. Trustworthy information was received 
from Florence to the effect that Victor Emmanuel and his 
Ministers had, in consequence of our victories, decided to 
observe neutrality, which up to that time was anything but 
certain. Now it was at last possible to estimate, at least ap- 
proximately, the losses of the French at Courcelles, Mars le 
Tour, and Gravelotte. The Minister put them at about 50,000 
men during the three days, of whom about 12,000 were killed. 
He added : " The ambition and mutual jealousy of some of our 
generals were to blame for the severity of our losses. That the 
guards charged too soon was entirely due to their jealousy of 
the Saxons who were coming up behind them." 

That afternoon I had some talk with one of the dragoon 
guards who had been in the charge on the French battery 
on the 1 6th. He maintained that besides Finkenstein and 
Reuss the two Treskows were also dead and buried; and that 
after the battle one squadron had been formed out of the three 
squadrons of his regiment that had been in action, and one 
regiment out of the two dragoon regiments that had been 
engaged. He spoke very modestly about that gallant deed. 
"We had to charge," he said, "in order to prevent our artillery 
being taken by the enemy." While I was talking to him, some 
Saxon infantry passed by with a batch of about 1 50 prisoners. 
I ascertained from the escort that after their long march the 
Saxons had fought in the battle near Roncourt and Saint Privat. 
Once they had charged with the bayonet and the butt ends of 
their rifles. They had lost a good many officers, including 
General Krausshaar. 

As I entered the room that evening at tea time, the Chief 
said : — "How are you, doctor } " 

" I thank your Excellency, quite well." 

" Have you seen something of what has been going on .? " 

"Yes, your Excellency, the battlefield near Vionville." 

" It is a pity you were not with us to share our adventures 
on the 1 8th." 

The Chancellor then went on to give us a full account of his 
experiences during the last hours of the battle and the following 
night. I shall give these and other particulars later on, as I 
heard them from the Minister. Here I will only mention that 
the King had ventured too far to the front, which Bismarck 


thought was not right. Referring to our men, the American 
General Sheridan said : " Your infantry is the best in the world; 
but it was wrong of your generals to advance their cavalry as 
they did." I may further mention that Bohlen in the course of 
the conversation said to the Chancellor : *' Did you hear how 
the Bavarian muttered when the result seemed doubtful — 
* Things look bad! It's a bad case!' — and was obviously 
delighted to think we were going to be beaten.?" The Bava- 
rian referred to was Prince Luitpold. The name of General 
Steinmetz then came up. The Chancellor said that he was 
brave, but self-willed and excessively vain. Small and slight of 
figure, when he came into the Diet he always stood near the 
President's chair so as to be noticed. He used to attract at- 
tention by pretending to be very busy taking notes of what 
went on, as if he were following the debate with great care. 
" He evidently thought the newspapers would mention it, and 
praise his zeal. If I am not mistaken his calculation proved 

On Monday, the 22nd of August, I wrote in my diary: 
" Called to the Chief at 10.30 a.m. He asked first after my 
health and whether I also had been attacked by dysentery. 
He had had a bad time of it the night before. The Count 
down with dysentery ! God save him from it ! It would be 
worse than the loss of a battle. Without him our whole cause 
would be reduced to uncertainty and vacillation." 

On the instructions of the Chief I sent the Koelnische 
Zeitung the translation of part of a confidential report accord- 
ing to which the Emperor Alexander was favorably disposed 
towards the French. I also wired to Berlin respecting the 
closing of some small telegraph offices the officials of which 
were required for the field service. 

There is no longer any doubt that we shall retain Alsace 
and Metz, with its environs, in case of a final victory over 
France. The considerations that have led the Chancellor to 
this conclusion, and which have already been discussed in an 
academic way in the English press, are somewhat as follows : — 

A war indemnity, however great it may be, would not com- 
pensate us for the enormous sacrifices we have made. We 
must protect South Germany with its exposed position against 
French attacks and thus put an end to the pressure exercised 


upon it by France during two centuries, especially as this pres- 
sure has during the whole time greatly contributed to German 
disorganisation and confusion. Baden, Wurtemberg, and the 
other south-western districts must not in future be threatened 
by Strasburg and subject to attack from that point. This 
also applies to Bavaria. Within 150 years the French have 
made war upon South-west Germany more than a dozen times. 
Efforts were made in 18 14 and 1815 in a forbearing spirit to 
secure guarantees against a renewal of such attacks. That 
forbearance, however, was without effect, and it would now also 
remain fruitless. The danger lies in the incurable arrogance 
and lust of power which is part of the French character, 
qualities that might be abused by every ruler — not by any 
means by the Bonapartes alone — for the purpose of attacking 
peaceful neighbours. Our protection against this evil does not 
lie in vain att^pipts periodically to soothe French susceptibili- 
ties, but rather in securing a well-defended frontier. France, 
by repeatedly annexing German territory and all the natural 
defences on our western frontier, has put herself in a position 
to force her way into South Germany with a comparatively 
small force before assistance can be brought from the north. 
Such invasions have repeatedly occurred under Louis XIV. and 
his successor, as well as under the Republic and the First 
Empire, and the sense of insecurity obliges the German States 
to reckon constantly with France. That the annexation of a 
piece of territory will produce bitter feelings amongst the 
French is a matter of no consequence. Such feelings would 
exist in any case, even without any cession of territory. 
Austria did not lose an acre of soil in 1866, and yet what 
thanks have we had } Our victory at Sadowa had already filled 
the French with hatred and vexation. How much stronger 
must that sentiment be after our victories at Worth and Metz ! 
Revenge for those defeats will continue to be the war cry in 
Paris even without any annexation, and will spread to influen- 
tial circles in the provinces, just as the idea of revenge for 
Waterloo was kept alive there for decades. An enemy who 
cannot be turned into a friend by considerate treatment must 
be rendered thoroughly and permanently harmless. Not the 
demolition, but the surrender, of the eastern fortresses of 
France can alone serve our purpose. Whoever desires dis- 


armament must wish to see France's neighbours adopt this 
course, as France is the sole disturber of European peace, and 
will remain so as long as she can. 

It is astonishing how freely this idea of the Chief's now 
flows from one's pen. What looked like a miracle ten days 
ago seems now quite natural and a matter of course. Per- 
haps the suggestion as to a German Empire which is under- 
stood to have been mentioned during the visit of the Crown 
Prince is also an idea of the same kind. Blessings follow closely 
upon each other's heels. We may now regard everything as 

At dinner the Minister complained of the excessive frugality 
with which the principal officials of the Royal Household 
catered for the King's table. "There is seldom any cham- 
pagne, and in the matter of food also short commons is the 
rule. When I glance at the number of cutlets I only take one, 
as I am afraid that otherwise somebody else would have to go 
without." These remarks, like similar hints given recently, 
were intended for one or other of the gentlemen from the 
Court, with a view to their being repeated in the proper quarter. 
The conversation then turned on the improper, not to say dis- 
graceful, manner in which the French soldiers carried on the 
war. The Minister said they had killed one of our officers near 
Mars la Tour (Finkenstein, I believe it was) while he was sitting 
wounded by the roadside. One of the company maintained 
that he had been shot, but another said that an examination of 
the body by a doctor showed that the officer had been stabbed. 
The Chief remarked that if he had to choose, he should prefer 
being stabbed to being shot. 

Count Herbert has been brought in from the Field Hospital, 
and a bed has been prepared for him on the floor in his father's 
room. I was talking to him to-day. His wound is painful, but 
up to the present it does not appear to be dangerous. He is to 
return to Germany one of these days, where he will remain 
until he has recovered. 



On Tuesday, August 23rd, we were to continue our journey 
westwards. Sheridan and his companions were to accompany 
us or to follow without delay. Regierungspraesident von Kuehl- 
wetter remained behind as Prefect; Count Henckel went to 
Saargemund, and Count Renard, a huge figure with a beard of 
corresponding amplitude, went to Nancy in a similar capacity. 
Bamberger, the member of Parliament, visited us again. I also 
noticed Herr Stieber on one occasion in the neighbourhood of 
the house at the comer of the Rue Raugraf , and as I was walk- 
ing about the town to take a last look at the place before 
leaving, I saw the fine-drawn, wrinkled, clean-shaven face of 
Moltke, whom I had last seen as he entered the Foreign Office 
in company with the Minister of War five or six days before 
the declaration of hostilities. It seemed to me that his features 
wore to-day an expression of perfect content and satisfaction. 

On my return to the office I was much interested by a report 
of the views recently expressed by Thiers as to the immediate 
future of France. He regarded it as certain that in case of 
victory we should retain Alsace. The defeat of Napoleon 
would be followed by the loss of his throne. He would be 
succeeded for a few months by a Republic, and then probably 
by one of the Orleans family, or perhaps by Leopold of Bel- 
gium, who, according to the source from which our informant 
obtained his news (one of Rothschild's confidants), was known 
on the best authority to be extremely ambitious. 

We left Pont a Mousson at 10 o'clock. In the villages along 
the road the houses stood side by side as in a town. Most of 
them possessed handsome municipal buildings and schools, and 
some had seemingly ancient Gothic churches. On the other 
side of Gironville the road passes a steep hill with a wide pros- 
pect of the plain beneath. Here we left the carriages in order 



to ease the load for the horses. The Chancellor, who drove at 
the head of our party with Abeken, also got out and walked for 
a quarter of an hour, his big boots reminding one of pictures of 
the thirty years' war. Moltke walked beside him ; the greatest 
strategist of our days striding along towards Paris on a country 
road near the French frontier in company with the greatest 
statesman of our time! 

After we had returned to the carriages we saw a number of 
soldiers to the right putting up a telegraph line. Shortly after 
2 o'clock we came to Commercy, a bright little town with about 
6000 inhabitants. The white blinds in the better-class houses 
were for the most part drawn down, as if the occupants did not 
wish to see the hated Prussians. The people in blouses were 
more curious and less hostile. 

The Chief, together with Abeken and Keudell, took up their 
quarters in the chateau of Count Macore de Gaucourt in the 
Rue des Fontaines, where a Prince von Schwarzburg had 
lodged, and which was now occupied by the lady of the house. 
Her husband was in the French army and was accordingly with 
his regiment in the field. He was a very distinguished gentle- 
man, being descended from the old dukes of Lorraine. There 
was a pretty flower garden near the house, and behind it was 
a large wooded park. I put up not far from the Minister's 
quarters at No. i Rue Heurtebise, where I had a friendly and 
obliging landlord and an excellent fourpost bed. I called after- 
wards on the Chancellor, whom I found in the garden, and 
asked if there was anything for me to do. After thinking for 
a moment, he said there was, and an hour later I provided work 
both for the Field Post and the new telegraph line. 

Amongst other things I wrote the following paragraph : " It 
is now quite clear that the Princes of the Orleans family con- 
sider that their time has come, as they expect to see the star of 
the Napoleons sink lower and lower. In order to emphasise 
the fact that they are Frenchmen, they have placed their 
swords in the present crisis at the service of their country. The 
Orleans lost their throne in great part through their own slug- 
gishness and their indifference to the development of neigh- 
bouring States. They would now appear determined to regain 
it by energy, and to maintain their position by flattering French 
chauvinism, and love of glory and universal dominion. Our 

t87o] reserve armies IN GERMANY 79 

work is not yet done. A decisive victory is probable, but is not 
yet certain. The fall of Napoleon seems near at hand, but it 
is not yet accomplished. Even should it occur, could we, in 
view of the considerations already mentioned, rest content with 
it and accept it as the sole result of our exertions, could we feel 
confident of having attained our principal object, namely, to 
secure peace with France for many years to come.^ No one 
can answer that question in the affirmative. A peace with the 
Orleans on the French throne would be still more a mockery 
than one with Napoleon, who must already have had enough 
of ' la gloire.' Sooner or later we should be again challenged 
by France, who probably would be then better prepared and 
would have secured more powerful allies." 

Three reserve army corps are to be formed in Germany. 
One, and the strongest, near Berlin; one on the Rhine; and a 
third at Glogau in Silesia, in consequence of the equivocal 
attitude of Austria. That would be a purely defensive measure. 
The troops on the Rhine are to be commanded by the Grand 
Duke of Mecklenburg, those near Berlin by General von Can- 
stein, and those at Glogau by General von Lowenfeld. 

Towards evening the military band played before the resi- 
dence of the King, the street urchins holding their notes for the 
musicians in the friendliest possible manner. The King had 
also stopped at Commercy during the war against the First 

Counts Waldersee and Lehndorff, and Lieutenant-General 
von Alvensleben (from Magdeburg) were amongst the Chief's 
guests at dinner. Alvensleben told us the story of a so-called 
"Marl-Major" who was accustomed to attribute all sorts of 
occurrences to geognostic causes. He reasoned somewhat in 
this style : " It follows from the character and conduct of the 
Maid of Orleans that she could only have been born on a fertile 
marly soil, that she was fated to gain a victory in a limestone 
country, and to die in a sandstone district." 

Speaking of the barbarous way in which the French con- 
ducted the war, Alvensleben said that they had also fired upon 
a flag of truce at Toul. On the other hand, an officer who for 
a joke rode along the glacis had a friendly chat with the gentle- 
men on the walls. The question whether it would be possible 
to take Paris by storm in spite of its fortifications was answered 


in the affirmative by the military guests. General Alvensleben 
said : '^ A great city of that kind cannot be successfully de- 
fended if it is attacked by a sufficiently numerous force." 
Count Waldersee wished to " see Babel utterly destroyed " and 
brought forward arguments in favour of that measure with 
which I was immensely pleased. The Minister, however, re- 
plied : " Yes, that would be a very good thing, but it is impossi- 
ble for many reasons. One of these is that numbers of Germans 
in Cologne and Frankfort have considerable sums invested 

The conversation then turned upon our conquests in France 
and those still to be made. Alvensleben was in favour of keep- 
ing the country up to the Marne. Bismarck had another idea, 
which, however, he seemed to think it impossible to realise. 
" My ideal would be," he said, " a kind of German colony, a 
neutral State of eight or ten million inhabitants, free from the 
conscription and whose taxes should flow to Germany so far as 
they were not required for domestic purposes. France would 
thus lose a district from which she draws her best soldiers, and 
would be rendered harmless. In the rest of France no Bourbon, 
no Orleans, and probably no Bonaparte, neither Lulu (the 
Prince Imperial) nor the fat Jerome, nor the old one. I did not 
wish for war in connection with the Luxemburg affair, as I 
knew that it would lead to six others. But we must now put 
an end to all this. However, we must not sell the bear's skin 
before we have killed it. I confess I am superstitious in that 
respect." " Never mind," said Count Waldersee, " our bear is 
already badly hit." 

The Chief then again referred to the royal table and to the 
frugal manner in which food was doled out to the guests, his 
remarks being probably intended for Count Lehndorff, who 
was expected to repeat them. " We had cutlets there recently, 
and I could not take two as there was only one apiece for us. 
Rabbit followed, and I debated with myself whether I should 
take a second portion, although I could easily have managed 
four. At length hunger overcame my politeness and I seized a 
second piece, though I am sure I was robbing somebody else." 

The Chancellor then went on to speak of his sons. " I 
hope," he said, ** I shall be able to keep at least one of my 
youngsters — I mean Herbert, who is on his way to Germany. 


He got to feel himself quite at home in camp. Formerly he 
was apt to be haughty, but as he lay wounded at Pont a Mous- 
son he was almost more friendly with the common troopers 
who visited him than with the officers." 

At tea we were told that in 18 14 the King had his quarters 
in the same street where he now lives, next door to the house 
he occupies at present. The Chief seems to have spoken to him 
to-day about decorating Bavarian soldiers with the Iron Cross. 
The Minister said : " My further plan of campaign for his 
Majesty is that part of his escort should be sent on ahead. 
The country must be scoured by a company to the right and 
left of the road, and the Royal party must remain together. 
Pickets must be posted at stated intervals. The King approved 
when I told him that this had been done also in 18 14. The 
Sovereigns did not drive on that occasion, but went on horse- 
back, and Russian soldiers, twenty paces apart, lined the whole 
route." Somebody suggested the possibility that peasants or 
franctireurs might fire at the King. " Certainly," added the 
Chief, " and what makes it so important a point is that the per- 
sonage in question, if he is ill or wounded or otherwise out of 
sorts, has only to say * Go back! ' and we must all of us go back." 

We left Commercy next day at noon, passing several mili- 
tary detachments and a number of encampments on our way. 
The measures of precaution mentioned by the Chief had been 
adopted. We were preceded by a squadron of uhlans and 
escorted by the Stabswache, which formed a bright picture of 
many colours, being recruited from the various cavalry regi- 
ments, such as green, red, and blue hussars, Saxon and Prussian 
dragoons, &c. The carriages of the Chancellor's party followed 
close behind those of the King's. For a long time we did not 
come across any villages. Then we passed through St. Aubin, 
and soon after came to a milestone by the roadside with the 
words "Paris 241 kilometres," so that we were only a distance 
of some thirty-two German miles from Babel. We afterwards 
passed a long line of transport carts belonging to the regiments 
of King John of Saxony, the Grand Duke of Hesse, &c., which 
showed that we were now in the district occupied by the Crown 
Prince's army. 

Shortly afterwards we entered the small town of Ligny, 
which was thronged with Bavarian and other soldiers. Wc 

VOL. I. — G 

82 "TOO MANY PRINCES" [Aug. 25 

waited for about three-quarters of an hour in the market-place, 
which was crowded with all sorts of conveyances, while the 
Chief paid a visit to the Crown Prince. On our starting once 
more we met further masses of blue Bavarian infantry, some 
light horse collected round their camp fires, then a second 
squadron with a herd of cattle guarded by soldiers, and finally 
a third larger encampment within a circle of baggage waggons. 

Bar le Due, the largest town in which we have stayed up to 
the present, may have a population of some 15,000. The streets 
and squares presented a lively picture as we drove through, and 
we caught glimpses of curious female faces watching us through 
the blinds. On the arrival of the King the Bavarian band 
played " Heil dir im Siegerkranz." He took up his quarters in 
the house occupied by the local branch of the Bank of France, 
in the Rue de la Banque. The Chancellor and his party lodged 
on the other side of the street, in the house of a M. Pernay, who 
had gone off leaving an old woman in charge. 

Dr. Lauer, the King's physician, dined with the Minister 
that evening. The Chief was very communicative as usual, and 
appeared to be in particularly good humour. He renewed his 
complaints as to the " short commons " at the royal table, evi- 
dently intending the doctor to repeat them to Count Puckler or 
Perponcher. During his visit at Ligny he had to take break- 
fast, which he said was excellent, with the Crown Prince and 
the Princes and chief officers of his suite. He had a seat near 
the fire, however, which was not quite to his taste, and other- 
wise it was in many ways less comfortable than in his own 
quarters. "There were too many Princes there for an ordinary 
mortal to be able to find a place. Amongst them was Frederick 
the Gentle (Friedrich der Sachte — Frederick VHI. of Schles- 
wig-Holstein). He wore a Bavarian uniform, so that I hardly 
knew him at first. He looked somewhat embarrassed when he 
recognised me." We also gathered from what the Chief said 
that Count Hatzfeld was to act as a kind of Prefect while we 
remained here, a position for which probably his thorough 
knowledge of French and of the habits of the country had 
recommended him. We also heard that the headquarters 
might remain here for several days, — " as at Capua," added 
the Count, laughing. 

Before tea some articles were despatched to Germany, in- 


1870] AT BAR LE DUC 83 

eluding one on the part played by the Saxons at Gravelotte, 
which the Chancellor praised repeatedly. 

By way of change I will here again quote from my diary : — 
Thursday, August 2^th. — Took a walk early this morning 
in the upper, and evidently the older, part of the town. The 
shops are almost all open. The people answer politely when 
we ask to be shown the way. Not far from our quarters there 
is an old stone bridge over the river which was unquestionably 
built before Lorraine and the Duchy of Bar belonged to France. 
Towards nine o'clock the Bavarians began their march through 
the town, passing in front of the King's quarters. More French 
spectators had collected on both sides of the street than was 
quite comfortable for us. For hours together light horse with 
green uniforms and red facings, dark blue cuirassiers, lancers, 
artillery and infantry, regiment after regiment marched before 
the Commander-in-Chief of the German Forces. As they passed 
the King the troops cheered lustily, the cavalry swinging their 
sabres, and the foot soldiers lifting up their right hands. The 
colours were lowered before the Sovereign, the cavalry trumpets 
blew an ear-splitting fanfare, while the infantry bands played 
stirring airs, one of them giving the beautiful Hohenfriedberg 
march. First came General von Hartmann's Army Corps, 
followed by that of Von der Tann, who afterwards took break- 
fast with us. Who could have thought, immediately after the 
war of 1866, or even three months ago, of the possibility of such 
a scene } 

Wrote several articles for post and others for the wire. Our 
people are pressing forward rapidly. The vanguards of the 
German columns are already between Chalons and Epernay. 
The formation of three reserve armies in Germany, which has 
been already mentioned, began a few days ago. The neutral 
Powers raise some objections to our intended annexation of 
French territory for the purpose of securing an advantageous 
western frontier, especially England, who up to the present has 
shown a disposition to tie our hands. The reports from St. 
Petersburg appear to be more favourable, the Tsar being well 
disposed to us, although he by no means unreservedly accepts 
the proposed measures, while we are assured of the active sym- 
pathy of the Grand Duchess Helene. We hold fast to our in- 
tention to enforce the cession of territory, that intention being 


based upon the necessity of at length securing South Germany 
from French attack and thus rendering it independent of French 
policy. When our intentions are made public they will certainly 
be energetically endorsed by the national sentiment, which it 
will be difficult to oppose. 

It is reported that a variety of revolting acts have been com- 
mitted by the bands of franctireurs that are now being formed. 
Their uniform is such that they can hardly be recognised as 
soldiers, and the badges by which they are distinguished can be 
easily laid aside. One of these young fellows lies in a ditch 
near a wood, apparently sunning himself, while a troop of 
cavalry rides by. When they have passed he takes a rifle which 
has been concealed in a bush, fires at them and runs into the 
wood. Knowing the way he again appears a little further on 
as a harmless peasant. I am inclined to think that these are 
not defenders of their country but rather assassins who should 
be strung up without ceremony whenever they are caught. 

Count Seckendorf, of the Crown Prince's staff, was the 
Chief's guest at dinner. The Augustenburger( Frederick VIII. 
of Schleswig-Holstein), who has joined the Bavarians, was 
spoken of, and not to his advantage. . . . (The opinions ex- 
pressed were practically identical with those given in a letter 
which I received a few months later from a patriotic friend, 
Herr Noeldeke, who lived in Kiel at that time as a professor. 
He wrote : " We all know that he was not born for heroic deeds. 
He cannot help that. If he waits persistently for his inheritance 
to be restored to him by some miraculous means, that is a family 
trait. But he might at least have made an effort to appear 
heroic. Instead of loafing around with the army he might have 
led a company or a battalion of the soldiers whom at one time 
he was nearly calling his own, — or for my part he might have 
led Bavarians. In all probability the result would not Kave been 
very remarkable, but at any rate he would have shown his 
good will.") 

Reference was made to the rumour that the Bavarian bat- 
talions did not appear particularly anxious to advance at the 
battle of Worth (or was it Weissenburg >), and that Major von 
Freiberg called upon them to show themselves equal to "those 
gallant Prussians." Seckendorf, if I am not mistaken, confirmed 
this report. On the other hand, he denied that the Crown 


Prince had ordered treacherous French peasants to be shot. 
He had, on the contrary, acted with great leniency and forbear- 
ance, especially towards unmannerly French officers. 

Count Bohlen, who is always ready with amusing anecdotes 
and flashes of fun, said : " On the i8th von Breintz's battery was 
subjected to such a heavy fire that in a short time nearly all his 
horses and most of his men lay dead or wounded. As he was 
mustering the survivors, the Captain remarked, 'A very fine 
fight, is it not .? ' " 

The Chief said : " Last night I asked the sentry at the door 
how he was off for food, and I found that the man had had 
nothing to eat for twenty-four hours. I went to the kitchen 
and brought him a good chunk of bread, at which he seemed 
highly pleased." 

Hatzf eld's appointment as Prefect led to the mention of other 
Prefects and Commissaries in spe. Doubt having been expressed 
as to the capacity of some of them, the Minister remarked : ** Our 
officials in France may commit a few blunders, but they will 
be soon forgotten if the administration in general is conducted 

The conversation having turned on the telegraph lines which 
were being so rapidly erected in our rear, somebody told the 
following story. The workmen, who found that their poles were 
stolen and their wires cut, asked the peasants to keep guard over 
them during the night. The latter, however, refused to do this, 
although they were offered payment for it. At length they were 
promised that the name of each watchman should be painted 
upon every pole. This speculation on French vanity succeeded. 
After that the fellows in the long nightcaps kept faithful watch, 
and no further damage was done. 

Friday, August 26th. — We are to move forward to Saint 
Menehould, where our troops have captured 8cxD mobile guards. 
Early in the day I wrote an article about the franctireurs, deal- 
ing in detail with the false view which they take of what is per- 
missible in war. 

We moved forward on the 26th, not to Saint Menehould, 
however, which was still unsafe, being infested by franctireurs 
and mobile guards, but to Clermont en Argonne, where we 
arrived at 7 o'clock in the evening. On our way we passed 
through several rather large villages with handsome old churches. 


For the last couple of hours military policemen were stationed 
along the road at intervals of about 200 paces. The houses, 
which were built of grey sandstone and not whitewashed, stood 
close together. The whole population shuffled about in clumsy 
wooden shoes, and the features of the men and women, of whom 
we saw great numbers standing before the doors, were, so far as 
I could observe in a passing glance, almost invariably ugly. 
Probably the people thought it necessary to remove the prettier 
girls to a place of safety out of the way of the German birds 
of prey. 

We met some Bavarian troops with a line of transport 
waggons. The troops loudly cheered the King, and afterwards 
the Chancellor. Later on we overtook three regiments of 
infantry, some hussars, uhlans, and a Saxon commissariat 
detachment. Near a village, which was called Triaucourt if I 
am not mistaken, we met a cartful of franctireurs who had 
been captured by our people. Most of these young fellows 
hung their heads, and one of them was weeping. The Chief 
stopped and spoke to them. What he said did not appear to 
please them particularly. An officer of higher rank who came 
over to the carriage of the Councillors and was treated to a 
friendly glass of cognac told us that these fellows or comrades 
of theirs had on the previous day treacherously shot a captain 
or major of the uhlans, named Von Fries or Friesen. On 
being taken prisoners they had not behaved themselves like 
soldiers, but had run away from their escort. The cavalry and 
rifles, however, arranged a kind of battue in the vineyards, so 
that some of them were again seized, while others were shot 
or cut down. It was evident that the war was becoming bar- 
barous and inhuman, owing to these guerilla bands. Our 
soldiers were prejudiced against them from the beginning, even 
apart from the possibility of their lying treacherously in 
ambush, as they looked upon them as busybodies who were 
interfering in what was not their business, and as bunglers who 
did not understand their work. 

We took up our residence at Clermont in the town school- 
house in the main street, the King's quarters being over the 
way. On our arrival, the Grande Rue was full of carts and 
carriages, and one saw here and there a few Saxon rifles. 
While Abeken and I were visiting the church, we could hear in 


the stillness the steady tramp of the troops and their hurrahs 
as they marched past the King's quarters. 

On our return we were told that the Minister had left word 
that we were to dine with him in the Hotel des Voyageurs. 
We found a place at the Chief's table in a back room of the 
hotel, which was full of noise and tobacco smoke. Amongst 
the guests was an officer with a long black beard, who wore 
the Geneva cross on his arm. This was Prince Pless. He 
said that the captured French officers at Pont a Mousson had 
behaved in an insolent manner, and had spent the whole night 
drinking and playing cards. A general had insisted that he 
was entitled to have* a separate carriage, and been very ob- 
streperous when his demand was naturally rejected. We then 
went on to speak of the franctireurs and their odious modes of 
warfare. The Minister confirmed what I had already heard 
from Abeken, namely, that he had spoken very sharply to the 
prisoners we had met in the afternoon. " I told them * Vo2is 
serez tons pendiis, — vous n'ites pas des soldats^ vous etes des 
assassins!' On my saying this one of them began to howl." 
We have already seen that the Chancellor is anything but 
unfeeling, and further proof of this will be given later on. 

In our quarters the Chief's chamber was on the first floor, 
Abeken, I believe, having a back room on the same landing. 
The remainder of us were lodged on the second floor in a dormi- 
tory or kind of hall which at first only contained two chairs and 
two bedsteads with mattresses but without quilts. The night 
was bitterly cold, and I only with my waterproof to cover me. 
Still it was quite endurable, especially when one fell asleep 
thinking of the poor soldiers who have to lie outside in the 
muddy fields. 

In the morning we were busy rearranging our apartment to 
suit our needs. Without depriving it of its original character 
we turned it into an office and dining room. Theiss's clever- 
ness conjured up a magnificent table out of a sawing bench and 
a baker's trough, a barrel, a small box, and a door which we 
took off its hinges. This work of art served as breakfast and 
dining table for the Chancellor of the Confederation and our- 
selves, and in the intervals between those meals was used as a 
desk by the Councillors and Secretaries, who neatly committed 
to paper and reproduced in the form of despatches, instructions, 


telegrams, and newspaper articles the pregnant ideas which the 
Count thought out in our midst. The scarcity of chairs was to 
a certain extent overcome by requisitioning a bench from the 
kitchen, while some of the party contented themselves with 
boxes as seats. Wine bottles that had been emptied by the 
Minister served as candlesticks, — experience proved that cham- 
pagne bottles were the fittest for this purpose, — and as a 
matter of fact good wax candles burned as brightly in these 
as in a silver chandelier. It was more difficult to secure the 
necessary supply of water for washing, and sometimes it was 
hard even to get enough for drinking purposes, the soldiers 
having during the last two days almost drained the wells for 
themselves and their horses. Only one of our party lamented 
his lot and grumbled at these and other slight discomforts. 
The rest of us, including the far-travelled Abeken, accepted 
them all with good humour, as welcome and characteristic 
features of our expedition. 

The office of the Minister of War, or rather of the General 
Staff, was on the ground floor, where Fouriere and a number of 
soldiers sat at the desks and rostrums in the two schoolrooms. 
The walls were covered with maps, &c., and with mottoes, one 
of which was particularly applicable to the present bad times : 
Faites vous une ^tude de la patience^ et sachez cMer par raison. 

The Chief came in while we were taking our coffee. He 
was in a bad temper, and asked why the proclamation threaten- 
ing to punish with death a number of offences by the population 
against the laws of war had not been posted up. On his in- 
structions I inquired of Stieber, who told me that Abeken had 
handed over the proclamation to the General Staff, and that he 
(Stieber), as director of the military police, could only put up 
such notices when they came from his Majesty. 

On going to the Chancellor's room to inform him of the re- 
sult of my inquiries, I found that he was little better off than 
myself in the way of sleeping accommodation. He had passed 
the night on a mattress on the floor with his revolver by his 
side, and he was working at a little table which was hardly 
large enough to rest his two elbows on. The apartment was 
almost bare of furniture and there was not a sofa or armchair, 
&c. He who for years past had so largely influenced the 
history of the world, and in whose mind all the great move- 



ments of our time were concentrated and being shaped anew, 
had hardly a place on which to lay his head, while stupid Court 
parasites rested from their busy idleness in luxurious beds, and 
even Monsieur Stieber managed to provide for himself a more 
comfortable resting-place than our Master. 

On this occasion I saw a letter that had fallen into our 
hands. It came from Paris and was addressed to a French 
officer of high rank. From this communication it appeared 
that little hope was entertained of further successful resistance, 
and just as little of the maintenance of the dynasty. The 
writer did not know what to expect or desire for the immediate 
future. The choice seemed to lie between a Republic without 
republicans, and a Monarchy without monarchists. The re- 
publicans were a feeble set and the monarchists were too 
selfish. There was great enthusiasm about the army, but 
nobody was in a hurry to join it and assist in repelling the 

The Chief again said that attention should be called to the 
services of the Saxons at Gravelotte. ** The small black fellows 
should in particular be praised. Their own newspapers have 
expressed themselves very modestly, and yet the Saxons were 
exceptionally gallant. Try to get some details of the excellent 
work they did on the i8th." 

They were very busy in the office in the meantime. Coun- 
cillors and Secretaries were writing and deciphering at full 
pressure, sealing despatches at the lights stuck into the cham- 
pagne-bottle candlesticks, and all around portfolios and docu- 
ments, waterproofs and shoe-brushes, torn papers and empty 
envelopes, were strewn about in picturesque confusion. Order- 
lies, couriers, and attendants came and went. Every one was 
talking at the same time and was too occupied to pay the least 
attention to his neighbours. Abeken was particularly active in 
rushing about between the improvised table and the messengers, 
and his voice was louder than ever. I believe that this morn- 
ing his ready hand turned out a fresh document every half 
hour, at least ; one heard him constantly pushing back his chair 
and calling a messenger. In addition to all this noise came the 
incessant tramp, tramp, tramp of the soldiers, the rolling of the 
drums, and the rattle of the carts over the pavement. In this 
confusion it was no light task to collect one's thoughts and to 


carry out properly the instructions received, but with plenty of 
good will it could be done. 

After dinner, at which the Chancellor and some of the 
Councillors were not present, as they dined with the King, I 
took a walk with Willisch to the chapel of St. Anne on the top 
of the hill. There we found a number of our countrymen, 
soldiers belonging to the Freiberg Rifle Battalion, at supper 
under a tree. They have been engaged in the battle of the 
1 8th. I tried to obtain some particulars of the fight, but could 
not get much more out of them than that they had given it 
with a will to the Frenchmen. 

By the side of the chapel a pathway led between a row of 
trees to a delightful prospect whence we could see at our feet 
the little town, and beyond it to the north and east an extensive 
plain, with stubble fields, villages, steeples, groups of trees, and 
stretches of wood, and to the south and west a forest that 
spread out to the horizon changing from dark green to the 
misty blue of the far distance. This plain is intersected by 
three roads, one of which goes direct to Varennes. On this 
road not far from the town a Bavarian regiment was stationed, 
whose camp fires added a picturesque note to the scene. In 
the distance to the right was a wooded hill with the village of 
Faucoix, while the small town of Montfaucon was visible further 
off. The second road, more towards the east, leads to Verdun. 
Still further to the right, not far from a camp of Saxon troops, 
was the road to Bar le Due, on which we noticed a detachment 
of soldiers. We caught the glint of their bayonets in the 
evening sunshine and heard the sound of their drums softened 
by the distance. 

Here we remained a good while gazing at this pleasing pic- 
ture, which in the west was glowing with the light of the set- 
ting sun, and watching the shadows of the mountain spread 
slowly over the fields until all was dark. On our way back we 
again looked in at the church of St. Didier, in which some Hes- 
sians were now quartered. They lay on straw in the choir and 
before the altar, and lit their pipes at the lamps which burned 
before the sanctuary — without, however, intending any disre- 
spect, as they were decent, harmless fellows. 

On Sunday, August 28th, we were greeted with a dull grey 
sky and a soft steady rain that reminded one of the weather 


experienced by Goethe not far from here in September, 1 792, 
during the days preceding and following the artillery engage- 
ment at Valmy. At the Chief's request I took General Sheri- 
dan a copy of the Pall Mall Gazette^ and afterwards tried to 
hunt up some Saxons who could give me particulars of the bat- 
tle of the 1 8th. At length I found an officer of the Landwehr, 
a landed proprietor named Fuchs-Nordhof, from Moeckern, 
near Leipzig. He was not able to add much to what I knew. 
The Saxons had fought principally at Sainte Marie aux Chenes 
and Saint Privat, and protected the retreat of the guards, who 
had fallen into some disorder. The Freiberg Rifles took the 
position held by the French at the point of the bayonet with- 
out firing a shot. The Leipzig Regiment (107th) in particular 
had lost a great many men and nearly all its officers. That 
was all he could tell me, except that he confirmed the news as 
to Krausshaar's death. 

When the Minister got up we were again provided with 
plenty of work. Our cause was making excellent progress. 
I was in a position to telegraph that the Saxon cavalry had 
routed the 12th Chasseurs at Voussieres and Beaumont. I was 
informed (and was at liberty to state) that we held to our deter- 
mination to compel France to a cession of territory, and that 
we should conclude peace on no other conditions. 

The arguments in support of this decision were given in 
the following article, which was sanctioned by the Chief : — 

" Since the victories of Mars la Tour and Gravelotte the 
German forces have been constantly pressing forward. The 
time would, therefore, appear to have come for considering 
the conditions on which Germany can conclude peace with 
France. In this matter we must be guided neither by a pas- 
sion for glory or conquest, nor by that generosity which is fre- 
quently recommended to us by the foreign press. Our sole 
object must be to guarantee the security of South Germany 
from fresh attacks on the part of France such as have been 
renewed more than a dozen times from the reign of Louis 
XIV. to our own days, and which will be repeated as often as 
France feels strong enough. The enormous sacrifices in blood 
and treasure which the German people have made in this war, 
together with all our present victories, would be in vain if the 
power of the French were not weakened for attack and the 


defensive strength of Germany were not increased. Our people 
have a right to demand that this shall be done. Were we to 
content ourselves with a change of dynasty and an indemnity, 
the position of affairs would not be improved, and there would 
be nothing to prevent this war leading to a number of others, 
especially as the present defeat would spur on the French to 
revenge. France with her comparatively great wealth would 
soon forget the indemnity, and any new dynasty would, in 
order to fortify its own position, endeavour to secure a victory 
over us and thus compensate for the present misfortunes of the 
country. Generosity is a highly respectable virtue, but as a 
rule in politics it secures no gratitude. In 1866 we did not 
take a single inch of ground from the Austrian s, but have we 
received any thanks in Vienna for this self-restraint .•* Do they 
not feel a bitter longing for revenge simply because they have 
been defeated } Besides, the French already bore us a grudge 
for our victory at Sadowa, though it was not won over them 
but over another foreign Power. Whether we now generously 
forego a cession of territory or not, how will they feel towards 
us after the victories of Worth and Metz, and how will they 
seek revenge for their own defeat ? 

"The consequences of the other course adopted in 18 14 and 
181 5, when France was treated with great consideration, prove 
it to have been bad policy. If at that time the French had 
been weakened to the extent which the interests of general 
peace required, the present war would not have been necessary. 

" The danger does not lie in Bonapartism, although the latter 
must rely chiefly upon chauvinist sentiment. It consists in the 
incurable arrogance of that portion of the French people which 
gives the tone to the whole country. This trait in the French 
national character, which will guide the policy of every dynasty, 
whatever name it may bear, and even of a Republic, will con- 
stantly lead to encroachments upon peaceful neighbours. Our 
victories, to bear fruit, must lead to an actual improvement of 
our frontier defences against this restless neighbour. Whoever 
wishes to see the diminution of military burdens in Europe, 
or desires such a peace as would permit thereof, must look not 
to moral but to material guarantees as a solid and permanent 
barrier against the French lust of conquest ; in other words, it 
should in future be made as difficult as possible for France to 




invade South Germany with a comparatively small force, and 
even in peace to compel the South Germans, through the appre- 
hension of such attack, to be always reckoning with the French 
Government. Our present task is to secure South Germany by 
providing it with a defensible frontier. To fulfil that task is to 
liberate Germany, that is to complete the work of the War of 
Liberation in 1813 and 18 14. 

"The least, therefore, that we can demand and that the 
German people, and particularly our comrades across the Main, 
can accept is the cession of the French gateways into Germany, 
namely Strasburg and Metz. It would be just as short-sighted 
to expect any permanent peace from the mere demolition of 
these fortresses as to trust in the possibility of winning over 
the French by considerate treatment. Besides, it must not be 
forgotten that this territory which we now demand was origi- 
nally German and in great part still remains German, and that 
its inhabitants will perhaps in time learn to feel that they belong 
to one race with ourselves. 

"We may regard a change of dynasty with indifference. 
An indemnity will only temporarily weaken France financially. 
What we require is increased security for our frontiers. This is 
only attainable, however, by changing the two fortresses that 
threaten us into bulwarks for our protection. Strasburg and 
Metz must cease to be points of support for French attacks and 
be transformed into German defences. 

" Whoever sincerely desires a general European peace and 
disarmament, and wants to see the ploughshare replace the 
sword, must first wish to see the eastern neighbors of France 
secure peace for themselves, as France is the sole disturber of 
public tranquillity and will so remain as long as she has the 



Sunday y August iZth, — At tea we receive an important piece 
of news. We ourselves and the whole army (with the exception 
of that portion which remains behind for the investment of 
Metz) are to alter our line of march, and instead of going west- 
wards in the direction of Chalons, we are to turn northwards, 
following the edge of the Argonne forest towards the Ardennes 
and the Meuse district. Our next halt will, it is believed, be at 
Grand Pr6. This move is made for the purpose of intercepting 
Marshal MacMahon, who has collected a large force and is 
marching towards Metz for the relief of Bazaine. 

We start at lo o'clock on the 29th, passing through several 
villages and occasionally by handsome chateaux and parks, a 
camp of Bavarian soldiers, some line regiments, rifles, light 
horse, and cuirassiers. In driving through the small town of 
Varennes we notice the house where Louis XVI. was arrested 
by the postman of Saint M^nehould. It is now occupied by a 
firm of scythe manufacturers. The whole place is full of sol- 
diers, horse and foot, with waggons and artillery. After extri- 
cating ourselves from this crowd of vehicles and men, we push 
rapidly forward through villages and past other camps, until we 
reach Grand Pr6. Here the Chancellor takes up his quarters in 
the Grande Rue, a little way from the Market, the King lodging 
at an apothecary's not far off. The second section of the King's 
suite, including Prince Charles, Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, and 
the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, was 
quartered in the neighbouring village of Juvin. I am billeted at 
a milliner's opposite the Chief's quarters. I have a nice clean 
room, but my landlady is invisible. We saw a number of French 




prisoners in the market-place on our arrival. I am informed 
that an encounter with MacMahon's army is expected to-morrow 

At Grande Pr^ the Chief again showed that he never 
thought of the possibility of an attempt being made to assas- 
sinate him. He walked about in the twilight alone and without 
any constraint, going even through narrow and lonely streets 
that offered special opportunities for attack. I say this from 
personal experience, because I followed him with my revolver 
at a little distance. It seemed to me possible that an occasion 
might arise when I might be of assistance to him. 

On my hearing next morning that the King and the Chan- 
cellor were going off together in order to be present at the great 
battue of the second French army, I thought of a favourite 
proverb of the Chief's which he repeated to me on his return 
from Rezonville : — " Wer sick griin macht, den fressen die 
Ziegen,'' and plucking up heart I begged him to take me with 
him. He answered, "But if we remain there for the night 
what will you do ? " I replied, " That doesn't matter, Excel- 
lency; I shall know how to take care of myself." "Well, 
then, come along ! " said he, laughing. The Minister took a 
walk in the market-place while I, in high good humour, fetched 
my travelling bag, waterproof, and faithful diary. On his re- 
turn he entered his carriage and motioned to me to join him, 
when I took my place at his side. One must have luck to 
secure such a piece of good fortune, and one must also follow 
it up. 

We started shortly after 9 o'clock. At first we retraced our 
steps along yesterday's road. Then to the left through vine- 
yards and past several villages in a hilly district. We met 
some parks of artillery and troops on the march or resting by 
the way. About 11 o'clock we reached the little town of 
Busancy, where we stopped in the market-place to wait for 
the King. 

The Chief was very communicative. He complained that 
he was so frequently disturbed at his work by persons talking 
outside his door, "particularly as some of the gentlemen have 
such loud voices. An ordinary inarticulate noise does not 
annoy me. I am not put out by music or the rattle of wag- 
gons, but what irritates me is a conversation in which I can 


distinguish the words. I then want to know what it is about, 
and so I lose the thread of my own ideas." 

He then pointed out to me that when officers saluted our 
carriage, it was not for me to return the salute. He himself 
was not saluted as Minister or Chancellor, but solely as a 
general officer, and soldiers might feel offended if a civilian 
seemed to think that the salute was also intended for him. 

He was afraid that nothing in particular would occur that 
day, an opinion which was shared by some Prussian artillery 
officers who were standing by their guns immediately opposite 
Busancy, and with whom he spoke. *' It will be just as it was oc- 
casionally when I was out wolf shooting in the Ardennes. After 
wandering about for days in the snow, we used to hear that a 
track had been discovered, but when we followed it up the wolf 
had disappeared. It will be the same with the French to-day." 

After expressing a hope that he might meet his second son, 
respecting whom he repeatedly inquired of officers along the 
route, the Minister added : — " You can see from his case how 
little nepotism there is in our army. He has already served 
twelve months and has obtained no promotion, while others are 
recommended for the rank of ensign in little more than a 
month." I took the liberty to ask how that was possible. " I 
do not know," he answered. " I have made close inquiries as to 
whether he had been guilty of any slight breaches of discipline ; 
but no, his conduct had been quite satisfactory, and in the en- 
gagement at Mars la Tour he charged as gallantly on the 
French square as any of his comrades. On the return ride he 
dragged with him out of the fight two dragoons who had been 
unhorsed, grasping one of them in each hand.^ It is certainly 
well to avoid favouritism, but it is bitter to be slighted." 

A few weeks later both his sons were promoted to the rank 
of officers. 

Subsequently, amongst many other things, the Chief once 
more gave me an account of his experiences on the evening of 
the 1 8th of August. They had sent their horses to water, and 
were standing near a battery which had opened fire. This was 
not returned by the French, but he continued : " While we 
thought their cannon had been dismounted, they were for the 

1 Not quite correct, according to a subsequent statement of the Minister's and 
Count Bill's own account. 



^^■last hour concentrating their guns and mitrailleuses for a last 
I^P great effort. Suddenly they began a fearful fire with shells and 
smaller projectiles, filling the whole air with an incessant crash- 
ing and roaring, howling and whistling. We were cut off from 
the King, whom Roon had sent to the rear. I remained by the 
battery, and thought that if we had to retire I could jump on to 

■the next ammunition cart. We expected that this attack would 
be supported by French infantry, who might take me prisoner, 
even if I were to treat them to a steady revolver fire. I had 
six bullets ready for them, and another half-dozen in reserve. 
At length our horses returned, and I started off to join the 
King. That, however, was jumping from the frying pan into 
the fire. The shells that passed over our heads fell exactly in the 
space across which we had to ride. Next morning we saw 
the pits which they dug in the ground. It was therefore neces- 
sary for the King to retire still further to the rear. I told him 
this after the officers had mentioned it to me. It was now night. 
The King said he was hungry, and wished to have something 
to eat. Drink was to be had from one of the sutlers, wine and 
bad rum, but there was nothing to eat except dry bread. At 
last they managed to hunt up a couple of cutlets in the vil- 
lage, just enough for the King, but nothing for his compan- 
ions, so that I was obliged to look out for something else. His 
Majesty wished to sleep in the carriage between dead horses 
and severely wounded soldiers. Later on he found shelter in 
a miserable hut. The Chancellor of the Confederation was 
obliged to seek cover elsewhere. Leaving the heir of one of 
our mighty German potentates (the young Hereditary Grand 
Duke of Mecklenburg) to keep watch over the carriage and see 
that nothing was stolen, I went with Sheridan on a recon- 
noitring tour in search of a sleeping place. We came to a 
house which was still burning, but that was too hot for us. I 
inquired at another, it was full of wounded ; at a third, and got 
the same answer, and still a fourth was also full of wounded. 
Here, however, I refused to budge. I saw a top window in 
which there was no light, and asked who was there. * Only 
wounded soldiers,' was the reply. ' Well, we are just going up 
to see,' I said, and marched up stairs. There we found three 
beds with good and tolerably clean straw mattresses, where we 

Btook up our quarters and slept capitally." 
VOL. I. — H 

98 AT BUSANCY [Aug. 30 

When the Minister first told this story at Pont, a Mousson, 
with less detail, his cousin, Count Bismarck-Bohlen, added : 
"Yes, you fell asleep immediately, as 'also did Sheridan, who 
rolled himself up in a white linen sheet — where he found it I 
cannot imagine — and seemed to dream of you all night, as I 
heard him murmur to himself several times, * O dear Count ! ' " 
" Yes," said the Minister, " and the Hereditary Grand Duke, 
who took the affair in very good part, and was altogether a very 
pleasant and amiable young gentleman." ** Moreover," con- 
tinued Bohlen, " the best of it was that there really was no such 
scarcity of shelter. In the meantime a fine country house had 
been discovered that had been prepared for the reception of 
Bazaine, with good beds, excellent wine, and I know not what 
besides, all first rate. The Minister of War quartered himself 
there, and had a luxurious supper with his staff." 

On the way to Busancy the Chancellor further said : " The 
whole day I had nothing to eat but army bread and bacon fat. 
In the evening we got five or six eggs. The others wanted 
them cooked, but I like them raw, and so I stole a couple, and 
cracking the shells on the hilt of my sword, I swallowed them, 
and felt much refreshed. Early next morning I had the first 
warm food for thirty-six hours. It was only some pea soup 
with bacon, which I got from General Goeben, but I enjoyed it 

The market-place at Busancy, a small country town, was 
crowded with officers, hussars, uhlans, couriers, and all sorts of 
conveyances. After a while Sheridan and Forsythe also ar- 
rived. At 11.30 the King appeared, and immediately after- 
wards we heard the unexpected news that the French were 
standing their ground. At about four kilometres from Busancy 
we came to a height beneath which to the left and right a small 
open valley lay between us and another height. Suddenly we 
heard the muffled sound of a discharge in the distance. " Ar- 
tillery fire," said the Minister. A little further on I saw two 
columns of infantry stationed on the other side of a hollow to 
the left on a piece of rising ground bare of trees. They had 
two guns which were being fired. It was so far off, however, 
that one could hardly hear the report. The Chief was sur- 
prised at the sharpness of my sight and put on his glasses, 
which I for the first time learned were necessary to him when 



he wished to see at a distance. Small white clouds like bal- 
loons at a great height floated for three or four seconds above 
the hollow and then disappeared in a flash. These were shrap- 
nel shells. The guns must have been German, and seemed to 
throw their shot from a declivity on the other side of the hollow. 
Over this hollow was a wood, in front of which I could observe 
several dark lines, perhaps French troops. Still further off was 
the spur of a hill, with three or four large trees. This, accord- 
ing to my map, was the village of Stonn, from which, as I after- 
wards heard, the Emperor Napoleon watched the fight. 

The firing to the left soon ceased. Bavarian artillery, blue 
cuirassiers, and green light horse passed us on the road, going 
at a trot. A little further on, just as we drove by a small 
thicket, we heard a rattle, as of a slow and badly delivered 
volley. "A mitrailleuse," said Engel, turning round on the 
box. Not far off, at a place where the Bavarian rifles were 
resting in the ditch by the road, the Minister got on horseback 
in order to ride with the King, who was ahead of us. We our- 
selves, after following the road for a time, turned towards the 
right across a stubble field. The ground gradually rose to a 
low height on which the King stood with the Chief and a num- 
ber of Princes, generals, and other officers of high rank. I 
followed them across the ploughed fields, and standing a little 
to one side I watched the battle of Beaumont till nearly sunset. 

It began to grow dark. The King sat on a chair near 
which a straw fire had been lit, as there was a strong wind. 
He was following the course of the battle through a field-glass. 
The Chancellor, who was similarly occupied, stood on a ridge, 
from which Sheridan also watched the spectacle. It was now 
possible to catch the flash of the bursting shells and the flames 
that were rising from the burning houses at Beaumont. The 
French continued to retire rapidly, and the combatants dis- 
appeared over the crest of the treeless height that closed the 
horizon to the left behind the wood over the burning village. 
The battle was won. 

It was growing dark when we returned towards Busancy, 
and when we reached it it was surrounded by hundreds of small 
fires that threw the silhouettes of men, horses, and baggage wag- 
gons into high relief. We got down at the house of a doctor 
who lived at the end of the main street, in which the King had 


also taken up his quarters. Those of our party who had been 
left behind at Grand Pre had arrived before us. I slept here on 
a straw mattress on the floor of an almost empty room, under a 
coverlet which had been brought from the hospital in the town 
by one of our soldiers. That, however, did not in the least pre- 
vent my sleeping the sleep of the just. 

On Wednesday, August the 31st, between 9 and 10 a.m., 
the King and the Chancellor drove out to visit the battlefield of 
the previous day. I was again permitted to accompany the 
Minister. At first we followed the road taken the day before 
through Bar de Busancy and Sommauthe. Between these two 
villages we passed some squadrons of Bavarian uhlans, who 
heartily cheered the King. Behind Sommauthe, which was full 
of wounded, we drove through a beautiful wood that lay between 
that village and Beaumont, where we arrived after 1 1 o'clock. 
King William and our Chancellor then got on horseback and 
rode to the right over the fields. I followed in the same direc- 
tion on foot. The carriages went on to the town, where they 
were to wait for us. 

The Chancellor remarked that the French had not offered 
a particularly steady resistance yesterday, or shown much pru- 
dence in their arrangements. " At Beaumont a battery of 
heavy artillery surprised them in their camp in broad daylight. 
Horses were shot tethered, many of the dead are in their shirt 
sleeves, and plates are still lying about with boiled potatoes, 
pots with half-cooked meat, and so forth." 

During the drive the Chief came to speak of " people who 
have the King's ear and abuse his good nature," thinking in 
the first place of the " fat Borck, the holder of the King's Privy 
Purse " ; and afterwards referring to Count Bernstorff, our then 
Ambassador in London, who, when he gave up the Foreign 
Office in Berlin, " knew very well how to take care of himself." 
In fact, "he was so long weighing the respective advantages 
of the two Embassies — London and Paris — that he delayed 
entering upon his duties much longer than was decent or 

I ventured to ask what sort of a person Von der Goltz was, 
as one heard such different opinions about him, and whether 
he really was a man of importance and intellect as was main- 
tained. " Intelligent .-^ yes, in a certain sense," replied the 


Minister; "a quick worker, well informed, but changeable in 
his views of men and things, to-day in favour of this man or 
this project, to-morrow for another and sometimes for the very- 
opposite. Then he was always in love with the Princesses to 
whose Courts he was accredited, first with Amelia of Greece 
and then with Eugenie. He believed that what I had the good 
fortune to carry through, he, with his exceptional intelligence, 
could have also done and even better. Therefore he was con- 
stantly intriguing against me, although we had been good 
friends in our youth. He wrote letters to the King complain- 
ing of me and warning his Majesty against me. That did not 
help him much, as the King handed over the letters to me, and 
I replied to them by reprimanding him. But in this respect he 
was persevering, and continued to write indefatigably. He 
was very little liked by his subordinates, indeed they actually 
detested him. On my visit to Paris in 1862 I called upon him 
to report myself just as he had settled down to a siesta. I did 
not wish to have him disturbed, but his secretaries were evi- 
dently delighted that he should be obliged to get up, and one 
of them immediately went in to announce me. It would have 
been so easy for him to secure the good will and attachment of 
his people. It is not difficult for an Ambassador, and I too 
would do it gladly. But as a Minister one has no time, one has 
too many other things to think of and to do. So I have had to 
adopt a more military style." It will be seen from this descrip- 
tion that Von der Goltz was Arnim's forerunner and kindred 

The Minister went on to speak of Radowitz, saying he did 
not feel quite certain whether it was dulness or treachery on 
Radowitz's part that was to blame for the diplomatic defeat at 
Olmiitz. The army ought to have been brought into line before 
Olmiitz, but Radowitz had intrigued against it. " I would leave 
it an open question whether he did so as an Austrian ultra- 
montane Jesuit, or as an impracticable dreamer who thought 
he knew everything. Instead of looking to our armaments he 
occupied the King with constitutional trifles, of mediaeval fol- 
lies, questions of etiquette, and such like. On one occasion we 
heard that Austria had collected 80,000 men in Bohemia, and 
was buying great numbers of horses. This was mentioned be- 
fore the King in Radowitz's presence. He suddenly stepped 


forward, looking as if he knew much more about it than any- 
body else, and said, * Austria has 22,493 men and 2,005 horses 
in Bohemia,' and then turned away, conscious that he had once 
more impressed the King with a sense of his importance." 

The King and the Chancellor first rode to the field where 
the heavy artillery had been at work. I followed them after I 
had jotted down my notes. This field lies about 800 to 1000 
paces to the right of the road that brought us here. In front 
of it towards the wood at the bottom of the valley were some 
fields surrounded by hedges in which lay about a thousand 
German dead, Thuringians of the 31st Regiment. The camp 
itself presented a horrible appearance, all blue and red from 
the French dead, most of them being killed by the shells of the 
4th Corps, and fearfully disfigured. 

The Chancellor, as he afterwards told me, noticed among 
some prisoners in a quarry a priest who was believed to have 
fired at our men. ** On my charging him with having done so 
he denied it. *Take care,' I said to him, * f or if it is proved 
against you, you will certainly be hanged.* In the meantime I 
gave instructions to remove his cassock." Near the church the 
King saw a wounded musketeer, with whom he shook hands, 
although the man was rather tattered and dirty from the work 
of the previous day, doubtless to the surprise of the French 
officers who were present. The King asked him what his busi- 
ness was. He replied that he was a Doctor of Philosophy. 
"Well, then, you will have learnt to bear your wounds in a 
philosophical spirit," said the King. " Yes," answered the 
musketeer, " I have already made up my mind to do so." 

Near the second village we overtook some common soldiers, 
Bavarians, who had broken down on the march, and were drag- 
ging themselves slowly along in the burning sun. " Hullo, 
countryman ! " called out the Minister to one of these, " will 
you have some brandy.?" "Why, certainly; " and so would a 
second and a third, to judge from their looks. All three, and 
a few more, after they had had a pull at the Minister's flask and 
at mine, received a decent cigar in addition. At the village of 
Crehanges, where the princely personages of the second section 
of the King's suite were quartered, together with some gentle- 
men of the Crown Prince's retinue, the King ordered a lunch, 
to which Bismarck was also invited. In the meantime I sat on 


a stone by the roadside and wrote up my diary, and afterwards 
assisted the Dutch ambulance corps, who had erected a bright 
green tent for the wounded in the vicinity of the village. When 
the Minister returned he asked me what I had been doing, which 
I told him. " I would rather have been there than in the com- 
pany I was in," he said, breathing deeply, and then quoted the 
line from Schiller's Diver^ " Unter Larven die einzige fuhlende 
Brust " (the only feeling heart amongst all those masks). 

During the rest of the drive the conversation moved for 
a considerable time in exalted regions, and the Chief readily 
gave me full information in answer to my inquiries. I re- 
gret, however, that I cannot for various reasons publish all I 

A certain Thuringian Serene Highness appeared to be par- 
ticularly objectionable to him. He spoke of his "stupid self- 
importance as a Prince, regarding me as his Chancellor also " ; 
of his empty head, and his trivial conventional style of talk. 
" To some extent, however, that is due to his education, which 
trained him to the use of such empty phrases. Goethe is also 
partly to blame for that. The Queen has been brought up 
much in the same style. One of the chairs in the Palace would 
be taken to represent the Burgomaster of Apolda, who was 
coming to present his homage. * Ah ! ' she was taught to say, 
* very pleased to see you, Herr Burgomaster ! ' (Here the Chan- 
cellor leant his head a little to one side, pouted his lips, and 
assumed a most condescending smile.) * How are things going 
on in the good town of Apolda } In Apolda you make socks 
and tobacco and such things, which do not require much think- 
ing or feeling.' " 

I ventured to ask how he now stood with the Crown Prince. 
" Excellently," he answered. " We are quite good friends 
since he has come to recognise that I am not on the side of the 
French, as he had previously fancied — I do not know on what 
grounds." I remarked that the day before the Crown Prince 
had looked very pleased. **Why should he not be pleased.?" 
replied the Count. " The Heir Apparent of one of the most 
powerful kingdoms in the world, and with the best prospects. 
He will be reasonable later on and allow his Ministers to govern 
more, and not put himself too much forward, and in general he 
will get rid of many bad habits that render old gentlemen of 


his trade sometimes rather troublesome. For the rest, he is 
unaffected and straightforward ; but he does not care to work 
much, and is quite happy if he has plenty of money and amuse- 
ments, and if the newspapers praise him." 

I took the liberty to ask further what sort of woman the 
Crown Princess was, and whether she had much influence over 
her husband. "I think not," the Count said; "and as to her 
intelligence, she is a clever woman ; clever in a womanly way. 
She is not able to disguise her feelings, or at least not always. 
I have cost her many tears, and she could not conceal how 
angry she was with me after the annexations (that is to say of 
Schleswig and Hanover). She could hardly bear the sight of 
me, but that feeling has now somewhat subsided. She once 
asked me to bring her a glass of water, and as I handed it to 
her she said to a lady-in-waiting who sat near and whose name 
I forget, ' He has cost me as many tears as there is water in 
this glass.' But that is all over now." 

Finally we descended from the sphere of the gods to that 
of ordinary humanity. After I had referred to the Coburg- 
Belgian- English clique, the conversation turned on the Augus- 
tenburger in his Bavarian uniform. " He's an idiot," said the 
Chancellor. " He might have secured much better terms. At 
first I did not want from him more than the smaller Princes 
were obliged to concede in 1866. Thanks, however, to Divine 
Providence and the pettifogging wisdom of Samwer, he would 
agree to nothing. I remember an interview I had with him in 
1864, in the billiard-room near my study, which lasted until 
late in the night. I called him ' Highness ' for the first time, 
and was altogether specially polite. When, however, I men- 
tioned Kiel Harbour, which we wanted, he remarked that that 
might mean something like a square mile, or perhaps even 
several square miles, a remark to which I was of course obliged 
to assent ; and when he also refused to listen to our demands 
with regard to the army, I assumed a different tone, and ad- 
dressed him merely as * Prince.' Finally, I told him quite 
coolly in Low German that we could wring the necks of the 
chickens we had hatched. At Ligny he basely tricked me the 
other day into shaking hands with him. I did not know who 
the Bavarian general was who held out his hand to me, or I 
should have gone out of his way." 




After an unusually long drive up hill and down dale, we 
arrived at 7 o'clock at the small town or market-place of Ven- 
dresse, where the Chancellor put up at the house of a Widow 
Baudelot, with the rest of his party, who had already taken 
possession of their quarters. 



On the ist of September Moltke's chase after the French 
in the Meuse district was, from all we could hear, evidently ap- 
proaching its close. I had the good fortune to be present at 
it next day. After rising very early in order to write up my 
diary from the hasty notes taken on the previous day in the 
carriage and by the roadside -at Chemery, I went to the house 
of Widow Baudelot. As I entered, a large cavalry detachment, 
formed of five Prussian hussar regiments, green, brown, black, 
and red, rode past under the Chief's window. These were to 
accompany the King to a point near Sedan, whence he could 
witness the catastrophe which was now confidently expected. 
When the carriage came and the Chancellor appeared, he looked 
about him. Seeing me he said, " Can you decipher, doctor ? " 
I answered, " Yes," and he added, *- Then get a cipher and come 
along." I did not wait to be asked twice. We started soon 
afterwards. Count Bismarck-Bohlen this time occupying the seat 
next to the Minister. 

We first passed through Chemery and Chehery, halting in 
a stubble field near a third village which lay in a hollow to the 
left of the road at foot of a bare hillock. Here the King, with 
his suite of Princes, generals, and courtiers, got on horseback, 
as did also the Chief, and the whole party moved towards the 
crest of the height. The distant roar of the cannon announced 
that the battle was in full progress. It was a bright sunny day, 
with a cloudless sky. 

Leaving Engel in charge of the carriage, I after a while fol- 
lowed the horsemen, whom I found in a ploughed field from 
which one had an extensive view of the district. Beneath was 
a deep wide valley, mostly green, with patches of wood on the 
heights that surrounded it. The blue stream of the Meuse 
flowed past a town of moderate size, the fortress of Sedan. On 


Sepi-. I, 1870] SEDAN 107 

the crest of the hill next us, at about the distance of a rifle shot, 
is a wood, and there are also some trees to the left. To the right 
in the foreground, which sloped obliquely, in a series of steps as 
it were, towards the bottom of the valley, was stationed a Bava- 
rian battery, which kept up a sharp fire at and over the town. 
Behind the battery were dark columns of infantry and cavalry. 
Still farther to the right, from a hollow, rose a thick column of 
smoke. It comes, we are told, from the burning village of 
Bazeilles. We are only about an English mile in a bee-line 
from Sedan, and in the clear atmosphere one can easily distin- 
guish the houses and churches. In the distance, to the left and 
right, three or four villages, and beyond them all, towards the 
horizon, a range of hills covered throughout with what appears 
to be a pine forest serves as a frame for the whole picture. It 
is the Ardennes, on the Belgian frontier. 

The main positions of the French appear to be on the hil- 
locks immediately beyond the fortress, and it looks as if our 
troops intended to surround them there. For the moment we 
can only see their advance on the right, as the lines of our 
artillery, with the exception of the Bavarians, who are posted 
under us, are lost behind the heights as they slowly move for- 
ward. Gradually the smoke of the guns is seen beyond the 
rising ground already mentioned, with the defile in the middle. 
The corps that are advancing in half circle to enclose the enemy 
are steadily endeavouring to complete the circle. To the left 
all is still. At 1 1 o'clock a dark grey pillar of smoke with yel- 
low edges rises from the fortress, which has hardly taken any 
part in the firing. The French troops beyond Sedan deliver 
an energetic fire, and at the same time, over the wood in the 
defile, rise numbers of small white clouds from the shells — 
whether French or German we cannot say. Sometimes, also, 
we hear the rattle of the mitrailleuse. 

There was a brilliant assembly upon the hill. The King, 
Bismarck, Moltke, Roon, a number of Princes, Prince Charles, 
their Highnesses of Weimar and Coburg, the Hereditary Grand 
Duke of Mecklenburg, generals, aides-de-camp, court officials. 
Count Hatzfeld, who disappeared after a while, Kutusow, the 
Russian, and Colonel Walker, the English Military Plenipoten- 
tiary, together with General Sheridan and his aide-de-camp, all 
in uniform, and all looking through field-glasses. The King 


Stood, while others sat on a ridge at the edge of the field, as 
did the Chancellor also at times. I hear that the King sent 
word round that it was better not to gather into large groups, 
as the French in the fortress might in that case fire at us. 

After 1 1 o'clock our line of attack advanced further on the 
right bank of the Meuse towards the main position of the 
French, who were thus more closely invested. In my eager- 
ness I began to express my views to Count Piickler, probably 
somewhat louder than was necessary or quite fitting in the cir- 
cumstances, and so attracted the attention of the Chief, who 
had sharp ears. He turned round and beckoned to me to come 
to him. " If you have strategic ideas to communicate to the 
Count it would be well if you managed to do so somewhat 
more quietly, doctor, as otherwise the King might ask who is 
speaking, and I should be obliged to present you to him." 
Shortly afterwards he received telegrams, six of which he gave 
me to decipher, so that for the time I had to resign my part as 
a spectator. 

On returning to the carriage I found in Count Hatzfeld a 
companion who had also been obliged to combine business 
with pleasure. The Chief had instructed him to copy out a 
French letter of four pages which had been intercepted by our 
troops. I mounted the box and set to work deciphering, while 
the battle roared like half-a-dozen thunderstorms on the other 
side of the height. In my eagerness to get done I did not feel 
the scorching midday sun, which raised blisters on one of my 

It was now i o'clock. By this time our line of fire encircled 
the greater part of the enemy's position on the heights beyond 
the town. Clouds of smoke rose in a wide arch, while the well- 
known small puff-balls of the shrapnels appeared for an instant 
and burst in the air. Only to the left there yet remained a 
space where all was still. The Chancellor now sat on a chair, 
studying a document of several pages. I asked if he would 
like to have something to eat or drink, as we had come pro- 
vided. He declined, however, saying, " I should be very glad, 
but the King has also had nothing." 

The opposing forces on the other side of the river must be 
very near each other, as we hear oftener than before the hate- 
ful rattle of the mitrailleuse. Its bark, however, we are told, is 


worse than its bite. Between 2 and 3 o'clock, according to my 
watch, the King passed near where I stood. After looking for 
a while through his glass towards the suburbs of Sedan, he said 
to those who accompanied him, " There, to the left, they are 
pushing forward large masses of troops; I think it is a sortie." 
It was, as a matter of fact, an advance of some columns of 
infantry, which, however, soon retired, probably because they 
found that although this place was quiet it was by no means 
open. Shortly afterwards, with the assistance of the field-glass, 
one could see the French cavalry deliver several attacks on the 
crest of the hill to the left of the wood near the defile, which 
were repelled by volleys from our side. After these charges it 
could be seen, even with the naked eye, that the ground was 
covered with white objects, horses or soldiers' cloaks. Soon 
afterwards the artillery fire grew weaker at all points, and there 
was a general retreat of the French towards the town and its 
immediate vicinity. As already mentioned, they had for some 
time past been closed in on the left, where the Wiirtemberg 
troops had a couple of batteries not far from our hill, and 
where, as we were informed, the 5th and nth Army Corps had 
cut off all escape, with the exception of a small gap towards 
the Belgian frontier. After half-past 4 all their guns were 
silent, and somewhat later ours also ceased firing. 

Once again the scene becomes more animated. Suddenly 
bluish white clouds rise first in one and then in a second part of 
the town, showing that it is burning in two places. Bazeilles 
also is still in flames, and is sending up a pillar of dense grey 
yellow vapour into the clear evening air. The soft radiance of 
the declining sun is spreading more and more over the valley at 
our feet, like burnished gold. The hillocks of the battlefield, 
the ravine in the midst, the villages, the houses, the towers of 
the fortress, the suburb of Torcy, and the broken bridge in the 
distance to the left stand out in clear relief, from moment to 
moment more distinct as if seen through stronger and stronger 

Towards 5 o'clock General Hindersin speaks to the King, 
and I fancy I catch the words, " Bombard the town," and a 
"heap of ruins." A quarter of an hour later a Bavarian officer 
gallops up the height towards us. General von Bothmer sends 
word to the King that General Mailinger, who is stationed at 


Torcy with the chasseurs, reports that the French desire to 
capitulate, and that their unconditional surrender has been de- 
manded. The King replied, " No one can negotiate this matter 
except myself. Tell the general that the bearer of the flag of 
truce must come to me." 

The Bavarian rides back into the valley. The King then 
speaks to Bismarck, and together they join the Crown Prince 
(who had arrived a little before), Moltke, and Roon. Their 
Highnesses of Weimar and Coburg are also with them, stand- 
ing a little to one side. After a while a Prussian aide-de-camp 
appears, and reports that our losses, so far as they can be 
ascertained up to the present, are not great — those of the 
Guards being moderate, of the Saxons somewhat more, while 
the remaining corps engaged suffered less. Only a small pro- 
portion of the French have escaped into the woods in the 
direction of the Belgian frontier, where search is now being 
made for them. All the rest have been driven towards Sedan. 

" And the Emperor.? " questioned the King. 

"We do not know," answered the officer. 

Towards 6 o'clock, however, another aide-de-camp appeared 
and reported that the Emperor was in the town, and would im- 
mediately send out a parlementaire. "That is a grand suc- 
cess ! " said the King, turning to the company. " I thank thee 
(he added to the Crown Prince) for thy share in it." With 
these words he gave his hand to his son, and the latter kissed it. 
He then held out his hand to Moltke, who also kissed it. Finally 
he likewise shook hands with the Chancellor, and spoke to him 
alone for some time. This seemed to excite the displeasure of 
some of their Highnesses. 

Towards half -past 6, after a detachment of cuirassiers had 
been posted near the King as a guard of honour, the French 
General Reille, Napoleon's parlementaire, rode slowly up the 
hill. He dismounted at a distance of some ten paces from the 
King, and after approaching his Majesty took off his cap and 
handed over a letter of large size with a red seal. The general 
is an elderly gentleman of medium height and slender figure, in 
an unbuttoned black tunic with epaulettes and shoulder straps, 
black vest, red trousers, and polished riding boots. He has no 
sword, but carries a walking stick in his hand. All the com- 
pany move away from the King, who opens and reads the letter, 


afterwards communicating the contents, which are now gener- 
ally known, to Bismarck, Moltke, the Crown Prince, and the 
other personages. Reille stands a little further off, at first 
alone, and later in conversation with some Prussian generals. 
The Crown Prince, Moltke, and his Highness of Coburg also 
speak to him while the King takes counsel with the Chancellor, 
who then commissions Hatzfeld to prepare a draft of the answer 
to the imperial letter. Hatzfeld brings it in a few minutes and 
the King copies it, sitting on one chair, while the seat of an- 
other, held by Major von Alten, who kneels before him, serves 
as a desk. 

Shortly before 7 o'clock the French general rides back 
towards Sedan in the twilight, accompanied by an officer and 
a uhlan trumpeter carrying a white flag. The town is now in 
flames in three places, and the lurid columns of smoke that rise 
from Bazeilles shows it to be still burning. The tragedy of 
Sedan is over, and night lets down the curtain. 

There might be an epilogue on the following day, but for 
the present every one returned home. The King went back to 
Vendresse, the Chief, Count Bismarck-Bohlen, and I drove to 
the little town of Donchery, where it was quite dark when we 
arrived. We put up at the house of a Dr. Jean jot. The town 
was full of Wiirtemberg soldiers, who were camped in the mar- 
ket-place. Our reason for coming here was that an arrange- 
ment had been made according to which the Chancellor and 
Moltke were this evening to meet the French plenipotentiary to 
try to settle the conditions of the capitulation of the four French 
army corps now confined in Sedan. 

I slept here in an alcove near the back room on the first 
floor, with only the wall between me and the Minister, who had 
the large front room. Towards 6 o'clock in the morning I was 
awakened by hasty footsteps, and heard Engel say : " Excel- 
lency, Excellency, there is a French general at the door. I can- 
not understand what he wants." The Minister would appear to 
have got up hurriedly and spoken a few words to the French 
officer, who turned out to be General Reille. The consequence 
was that he dressed immediately, and without waiting either for 
breakfast or to have his clothes brushed, mounted his horse and 
rode rapidly off. I rushed to his window to see in what direc- 
tion he went. I saw him trot off towards the market-place. 


NAPOLEON [Sept. 2 

In the room everything was lying about in disorder. On the 
floor lay the " Tdgliche Losungen tmd Lehrtexte der Bruder- 
gemeinde fur 1870" (Daily Watchwords and Texts of the Mora- 
vian Brethren for 1870), and on the toilette stand was another 
manual of devotion, ''Die tdgliche Erquickimg fur gldubige 
Christen'' (Daily Spiritual Refreshment for Believing Chris- 
tians), which Engel told me the Chancellor was accustomed to 
read at night. 

I now hastily dressed myself also, and after I had informed 
them downstairs that the Chief had gone off to Sedan to meet 
the Emperor Napoleon, who had left the fortress, I followed 
him as fast as I could. Some 800 paces from the bridge across 
the Meuse at Donchery, to the right of the road, planted with 
poplars, stands a single house, then the residence of a Belgian 
weaver. It is painted yellow, is but one story high, and has 
four windows on the front. There are white shutters to the 
windows on the ground floor ; the Venetian blinds on those of 
the first floor are also painted white, and it has a slate roof, 
like most of the houses at Donchery. Near it to the left is a 
potato field, now full of white blossoms, while to the right, across 
the path that leads to the house, stand some bushes. I see here 
that the Chancellor has already met the Emperor. In front of 
the house are six French officers of high rank, of whom five 
have caps with gold trimmings, while that worn by the sixth 
is black. What appears to be a hackney coach with four seats 
is waiting on the road. Bismarck and his cousin, Count Bohlen, 
are standing opposite the Frenchmen, while a little way off is 
Leverstrom, as well as two hussars, one brown and one black. 
At 8 o'clock Moltke arrives with a few officers of the general 
staff, but leaves again after a short stay. Soon afterwards a 
short, thick-set man, in a red cap braided with gold lace, and 
wearing red trousers and a hooded cape lined with red, steps 
from behind the house and speaks at first to the French officers, 
some of whom are sitting under the hedge by the potato field. 
He has white kid gloves, and smokes a cigarette. It is the 
Emperor. At the short distance at which I stand from him 
I can clearly distinguish his features. There is something soft 
and dreamy in the look of his light grey eyes, which resemble 
those of people who have lived fast. His cap is set a little to 
the right, in which direction the head is also bent. The short 


legs do not seem in proportion with the long upper part of the 
body. His whole appearance has something unmilitary about 
it. The man is too soft, I am inclined to think too pulpy, for 
the uniform he wears. One could even fancy that he is capable 
of becoming sentimental at times. Those ideas, which are mere 
impressions, force themselves upon one all the more when one 
glances at the tall, well-set figure of our Chancellor. Napoleon 
seems fatigued, but not very much depressed. Nor does he 
look so old as I had expected. He might pass for a tolerably 
well-preserved man of fifty. After a while he goes over to the 
Chief, and speaks to him for about three minutes, and then — 
still smoking and with his hands behind his back — walks up 
and down by the potato garden. A further short conversation 
follows between the Chancellor and the Emperor, begun by 
Bismarck, after which Napoleon once more converses with his 
French suite. About a quarter to 9 o'clock Bismarck and his 
cousin leave, going in the direction of Donchery, whither I 
follow them. 

The Minister repeatedly related the occurrences of this 
morning and the preceding night. In the following paragraphs 
I unite all these various statements into a connected whole. The 
sense of what the Chancellor said is faithfully given throughout, 
and his own words are in great part reproduced. 

"After the battle of the ist of September, Moltke and I 
went to Donchery, about five kilometres from Sedan, for the 
purpose of carrying on the negotiations with the French. We 
spent the night there, the King and his suite returning to Ven- 
dresse. The negotiations lasted until midnight, without, how- 
ever, leading to an understanding. In addition to Moltke and 
myself, Blumenthal and three or four other officers of the gen- 
eral staff were present. General Wimpffen was the French 
spokesman. Moltke's demand was very short. The whole 
French army must surrender as prisoners of war. Wimpffen 
considered that too hard. The army had deserved better treat- 
ment by the gallantry it had shown in action. We ought to be 
content to let them go on condition that they took no further 
part in the war and removed to some district in France to be 
fixed upon by us, or to Algiers. Moltke quietly maintained his 
demand. Wimpffen dwelt upon his own unfortunate position. 
He had joined the troops two days before on his return from 

VOL. I. — I 


Africa, and only took over the command when MacMahon was 
wounded towards the close of the battle — and yet he must now 
put his signature to such a capitulation. He would rather try 
to hold the fortress or venture a sortie. Moltke regretted that 
it was impossible for him to make allowance for the position of 
the general, the hardship of which he appreciated. He recog- 
nised the gallantry of the French troops, but they could not 
possibly hold Sedan, and a sortie was out of the question. He 
was prepared to allow one of the general's officers to inspect 
our positions, in order that he might convince himself of that 
fact. Wimpffen then urged that from a political standpoint it 
was advisable to grant better terms. We must desire a speedy 
and permanent peace, and we could now secure it if we acted 
generously. A considerate treatment of the army would put 
both the soldiers and the whole people under an obligation of 
gratitude, and would inspire friendly feelings towards us. An 
opposite course would lead to endless war. I intervened at this 
point, as my trade came into question here. I told Wimpffen 
it was possible to trust to the gratitude of a Prince but not to 
that of a people, and least of all to that of the French. They 
had no permanent institutions, they were constantly changing 
governments and dynasties, which were not bound by what their 
predecessors had undertaken. If the Emperor's throne were 
secure it would be possible to count upon his gratitude in return 
for more favourable conditions. As matters stood it would be 
foolish not to avail themselves to the full of the advantages of 
our success. The French were an envious, jealous people. 
They were angry with us for our victory at Sadowa, and could 
not forgive us for it, although it had not injured them. How 
then could any generosity on our part prevent them from bear- 
ing us a grudge for Sedan.? Wimpffen could not agree to that. 
The French had changed latterly, and had learnt under the 
Empire to think more of peaceful interests than of the glory of 
war. They were ready to proclaim the brotherhood of nations, 
and so on. It was not difficult to prove the contrary, and to 
show that the acceptance of his proposals would lead rather to 
a prolongation of the war than to its termination. I finished 
by saying that we must maintain our conditions. Castelneau 
then spoke, explaining on behalf of the Emperor that the latter 
had only given up his sword on the previous day in the hope of 


an honourable capitulation. I asked, ' Whose sword was that ? 
The Emperor's, or that of France?' He replied, 'Merely the 
Emperor's.' 'Well then,' interjected Moltke, sharp as light- 
ning — a gleam of satisfaction overspreading his hawk-like 
features — * there can be no further question of any other con- 
ditions.' 'Very well,' declared Wimpffen, 'in that case we 
shall renew the fight to-morrow.' ' I will see that our fire com- 
mences at 4 o'clock,' said Moltke, on which the French ex- 
pressed a wish to retire. I induced them, however, to remain 
a little longer and to consider the matter once more. The 
result was that they ultimately begged for an extension of the 
armistice, in order to consult with their people in Sedan. At 
first Moltke did not wish to agree to this, but finally consented 
on my pointing out to him that it could do no harm. 

" Towards 6 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of Septem- 
ber, General Reille appeared before my lodging at Donchery, 
and said the Emperor wished to speak to me. I dressed 
immediately and got on horseback, dirty, unwashed, and dusty 
as I was, to ride to Sedan, where I expected to see the Em- 
peror. I met him, however, on the road near Fresnois, three 
kilometres from Donchery. He sat with three officers in a 
two-horse carriage, three others accompanying him on horse- 
back. Of these officers I only knew Reille, Castelneau, Mos- 
cowa, and Vaubert. I had my revolver buckled round my 
waist, and as I found myself alone in the presence of the six 
officers I may have glanced at it involuntarily. I may perhaps 
even have instinctively laid my hand upon it. Napoleon prob- 
ably noticed that, as his face turned an ashy grey. Possibly 
he thought that history might repeat itself — I think it was a 
Prince de Cond6 who was murdered while a prisoner after a 

" I saluted in military fashion. The Emperor took off his 
cap, the officers following his example, whereupon I also 
removed mine, although it was contrary to the regulations to 
do so. He said, ' Couvrez-vous, done' I treated him exactly 
as if we were at Saint Cloud, and asked him what his com- 
mands were. He wished to know whether he could speak to 

* Louis de Conde was treacherously murdered on the 12th of March, 1569, after 
the engagement at Jarnac, just as he had delivered up his sword to an officer of the 
royal army, being shot by one Montesquieu, a captain of the guards. 

||5 THE INTERVIEW [Sept. 2 

the King. I said that was impossible, as his Majesty's quar- 
ters were about two German miles away. I did not wish him 
to see the King before we had come to an understanding as to 
the capitulation. He then asked where he could wait, which 
indicated that he could not return to Sedan, as he had either 
experienced or apprehended some unpleasantness there. The 
town was full of drunken soldiers, which was a great hardship 
for the inhabitants. I offered him my quarters at Donchery, 
which I was prepared to leave immediately. He accepted the 
offer, but when we had come within a few hundred yards of 
the town he asked whether he could not stay in a house which 
he saw by the road. I sent my cousin, who had followed me, 
to view the house. On his report I told the Emperor that it 
was a very poor place. He replied that it did not matter. 
After he had gone over to the house and come back again, 
having probably been unable to find the stairs, which were at 
the back, I accompanied him to the first floor, where we entered 
a small room with one window. It was the best in the house, 
but its only furniture was a deal table and two rush-bottomed 

" Here I had a conversation with him which lasted for 
nearly three-quarters of an hour. He complained first of this 
fatal war, which he had not desired. He was forced into it by 
the pressure of public opinion. I replied that in Germany no- 
body had wished for war, and the King least of all. We had 
regarded the Spanish question as a matter concerning Spain 
and not Germany, and we were justified in expecting from the 
good relations between the princely house of Hohenzollern and 
himself, that an understanding could be easily come to with the 
Hereditary Prince. We then went on to speak of the present 
situation. He wished above all to obtain more favourable terms 
of capitulation. I explained that I could not go into that ques- 
tion, as it was a purely military one, with which Moltke would 
have to deal. On the other hand it was open to us to discuss 
an eventual peace. He replied that he was a prisoner, and 
therefore not in a position to decide. On my asking him whom 
he regarded as competent to treat, he referred me to the Gov- 
ernment in Paris. I observed that the situation had therefore 
not changed since yesterday and that we must maintain our 
demand respecting the army in Sedan, as a guarantee that we 


should not lose the benefits of our victory. Moltke, to whom 
I had sent word, and who had arrived in the meantime, was 
of the same opinion and went to the King in order to tell 
him so. 

" Standing before the house the Emperor praised our army 
and the manner in which it had been led. On my acknowledg- 
ing that the French had also fought well, he came back to the 
conditions of the capitulation, and asked whether we could not 
allow the troops shut up in Sedan to cross the Belgian frontier, 
there to be disarmed and held as prisoners. I tried again to 
make it clear to him that that was a question for the military 
authorities, and could not be settled without the concurrence 
of Moltke. Besides, he himself had just declared that as a 
prisoner he was not able to exercise his authority, and that 
accordingly negotiations respecting questions of that kind 
should be carried on with the principal officer in command at 

" In the meantime a search had been made for a better 
lodging for the Emperor, and the officers of the general staff 
found that the little chateau of Bellevue near Fresnois, where I 
first met him, was suitable for his reception, and was not yet 
requisitioned for the wounded. I advised him to remove there, 
as it would be more comfortable than the weaver's house, and 
that possibly he wanted rest. We would let the King know 
that he was there. He agreed to this, and I rode back to 
Donchery to change my clothes. I then accompanied him to 
Bellevue with a squadron of the ist Cuirassier Regiment as a 
guard of honour. The Emperor wished the King to be present 
at the negotiations which began here, — doubtless counting on 
his soft-heartedness and good nature, — but he also desired me 
to take part in them. I had however decided that the soldiers, 
who were made of sterner stuff, should settle the affair by them- 
selves ; and so I whispered to an officer as I went up the stairs 
to call me in five minutes and say that the King wanted to 
speak to me. This was accordingly done. Napoleon was in- 
formed that he could only see the King after the conclusion of 
the capitulation. The matter was therefore arranged between 
Moltke and Wimpffen, much on the lines that were laid down 
the evening before. Then the two monarchs met. As the 
Emperor came out after the interview, his eyes were filled with 


heavy tears. In speaking to me he was much less affected, and 
was perfectly dignified." 

We had no detailed particulars of these events on the fore- 
noon of the 2nd of September; and from the moment when 
the Chief, in a fresh uniform and cuirassier's helmet, rode off 
from Donchery until late at night, we only heard vague rumours 
of what was going on. About 10.30 A. m. a detachment of Wiir- 
temberg artillery drove past our house at a trot. In every 
direction clouds of dust rose from the hoofs of the cavalry, 
while the bayonets of long columns of infantry glistened in 
the sun. The road at our feet was filled with a procession of 
waggons loaded with baggage and forage. Presently we met 
Lieutenant von Czernicki, who wanted to go into Sedan, and 
invited us to drive with him in his little carriage. We had 
accompanied him nearly as far as Fresnois, when, at about 
I o'clock, we met the King with a large suite on horseback, in- 
cluding the Chancellor, coming in the opposite direction. As 
it was probable that the Chief was going to Donchery we got 
out and followed him. The party, however, which included 
Hatzfeld and Abeken, rode through the town, and we heard 
that they were reviewing the battlefield. As we did not know 
Ijow long the Minister would remain away we did not venture 
to leave Donchery. 

About 1.30 P.M. some thousands of prisoners marched through 
the town on their way to Germany. Most of them were on foot, 
but some of them were in carts. They included about sixty to 
seventy officers, and a general who was on horseback. Amongst 
the prisoners were cuirassiers in white helmets, blue hussars 
with white facings, and infantrymen of the 22nd, 52nd, 
and 58th regiments. They were escorted by Wiirtemberg 
infantry. At 2 o'clock followed a second batch of about 
2000 prisoners, amongst whom were negroes in Arab cos- 
tume — tall, broad-shouldered fellows, with savage, ape-like 
features, and some old soldiers wearing the Crimean and Mexi- 
can medals. 

A little after 3 o'clock two French guns with their ammuni- 
tion waggons and still drawn by French horses passed through 
our street. The words " 5, Jager, Gorlitz " were written in 
chalk on one of the guns. Shortly afterwards a fire broke out 
in one of the streets to the left of our quarters. Wiirtemberg 




soldiers had opened a cask of brandy and had imprudently 
made a fire near it. 

Considerable distress prevailed in the town, and even our 
landlord (he and his wife were good souls) suffered from a 
scarcity of bread. The place was overcrowded with soldiers, 
who were quartered on the inhabitants, and with the wounded, 
who were sometimes put up in stables. Some of the people 
attached to the Court tried to secure our house for the Heredi- 
tary Grand Duke of Weimar, but we held out successfully 
against them. Then an officer wanted to quarter a Prince of 
Mecklenburg upon us, but we also sent him packing, telling 
him it was out of the question, as the Chancellor of the Con- 
federation lodged there. After a short absence, however, I 
found that the Weimar gentlemen had forced themselves into 
the house. We had reason to be thankful that they did not 
turn our Chief out of his bed. 

The Minister only returned after 1 1 o'clock, and I had sup- 
per with him, the party also including the Hereditary Grand 
Duke of Weimar, in the uniform of the Light Blue Hussars, 
and Count Solms-Sonnenwalde, formerly attached to the Em- 
bassy in Paris, and now properly speaking a member of our 
staff, although we had seen very little of him recently. 

The Chancellor gave us very full particulars of his ride over 
the battlefield. He had been nearly twelve hours in the saddle, 
with short intervals. They had been over the whole field, and 
were received with great enthusiasm in all the camps and 
bivouacs. It was said that during the battle our troops had 
taken over 25,000 prisoners, while 40,000 who were in Sedan 
surrendered under the capitulation, which was concluded about 

The Minister told us that Napoleon was to leave for Ger- 
many, that is to say for Wilhelmshohe, on the following morn- 
ing. "The question is," said the Chief, "whether he is to go 
by way of Stenay and Bar le Due or through Belgium." " In 
Belgium he would no longer be a prisoner," said Solms. "Well, 
that would not matter," replied the Chief, "and it would not 
even do any harm if he took another direction. I was in 
favour of his going through Belgium, and he seemed also 
inclined to take that route If he failed to keep his word it 
would not injure us. But it would be necessary to communi- 


cate beforehand with Brussels, and we could not have an 
answer in less than two days." 

About 8 o'clock on the following morning, just as I was at 
breakfast, we heard a noise which sounded like heavy firing. 
It was only the horses in a neighbouring stable stamping on the 
wooden floor, probably out of temper that they also should have 
been put on short commons, as the drivers had only been able 
to give them half measures of oats. As a matter of fact there 
was a general scarcity. I heard subsequently that Hatzfeld 
had been commissioned by the Chief to go to Brussels. Shortly 
afterwards the Chancellor called me to his bedside. He had 
received 500 cigars, and wished me to divide them among the 
wounded. I accordingly betook myself to the barracks, which 
had been transformed into a hospital, and to the bedrooms, 
barns, and stables in the street behind our house. At first I 
only wished to divide my stock amongst the Prussians; but the 
Frenchmen who were sitting by cast such longing glances at 
them, and their German neighbours on the straw pleaded so 
warmly on their behalf — " We can't let them look on while we 
are smoking, they too have shared everything with us " — that 
I regarded it as no robbery to give them some too. They all 
complained of hunger, and asked how long they were going to 
be kept there. Later on they were supplied with soup, bread, 
and sausages, and some of those in the barns and stables were 
even treated to bouillon and chocolate by a Bavarian volunteer 
hospital attendant. 

The morning was cold, dull, and rainy. The masses of 
Prussian and Wurtemberg troops who marched through the 
town seemed, however, in the best of spirits. They sang to 
the music of their bands. In all probability the feelings of 
the prisoners who sat in the long line of carts that passed in the 
opposite direction at the same time were more in harmony 
with the disagreeable weather and the clouded sky. About 10 
o'clock, as I waded in the drizzling rain through the deep mud 
of the market-place in fulfilment of my mission to the wounded, 
I met a long procession of conveyances coming from the Meuse 
bridge under the escort of the black death's-head hussars. 
Most of them were covered coaches, the remainder being bag- 
gage and commissariat carts. They were followed by a number 
of saddle horses. In a closed coup6 immediately behind the 




hussars sat the '' Prisoner of Sedan," the Emperor Napoleon, 
on his way to Wilhelmshohe through Belgium. General Castel- 
neau had a seat in his carriage. He was followed in an open 
waggonette by the infantry general, Adjutant-General von 
Boyen, who had been selected by the King as the Emperor's 
travelling companion, and by Prince Lynar and some of the 
officers who had been present at Napoleon's meeting with the 
Chancellor on the previous day. " Boyen is capitally suited for 
that mission," said the Chief to us the night before ; " he can 
be extremely rude in the most polite way." The Minister was 
probably thinking of the possibility that some of the officers in 
the entourage of the august prisoner might take liberties. 

We learned afterwards that an indirect route through 
Donchery had been taken, as the Emperor was particularly 
anxious not to pass through Sedan. The hussars went as far 
as the frontier near Bouillon, the nearest Belgian town. The 
Emperor was not treated with disrespect by the French 
prisoners whom the party passed on the way. The officers on 
the other hand had occasionally to listen to some unpleasant 
remarks. Naturally they were "traitors," as indeed from this 
time forward everybody was who lost a battle or suffered any 
other mishap. It seems to have been a particularly painful 
moment for these gentlemen when they passed a great number 
of French field-pieces that had fallen into our hands. Boyen 
related the following anecdote. One of the Emperor's aides- 
de-camp, I believe it was the Prince de la Moscowa, thought 
the guns belonged to us, as they were drawn by our horses, yet 
was apparently struck by something in their appearance. He 
asked : — 

" Quoi, est-ce que vous avez deux syst^mes d'artillerie } " 

" Non, monsieur, nous n'avons qu'un seul," was the reply. 

" Mais ces canons-la } " 

"lis ne sont pas les n6tres, monsieur." 



I AGAIN quote from my diary. 

Saturday, September ^rd. — We left Donchery shortly be- 
fore I o'clock. On the way we were overtaken by a short but 
severe storm, the thunder echoing along the valleys. This was 
followed by a heavy rain, which thoroughly drenched the Chan- 
cellor, who sat in an open carriage, as he told us in the evening 
at table. Happily it had no serious consequences : it depends 
more on diplomacy, and if the Chief were to fall ill who could 
replace him .'* 

I drove with the Councillors. Count Bohlen gave us numer- 
ous details of the events of yesterday. Napoleon had left 
Sedan at such an early hour — it must have been before or 
shortly after daybreak — because he felt it was unsafe to re- 
main in the midst of the furious soldiery, who were packed 
into the fortress like herrings in a barrel, and who burst into 
paroxysms of rage, breaking their rifles and swords on hearing 
of the capitulation. During the first interview at Donchery the 
Minister had, amongst other things, told Wimpffen he must be 
well aware that the arrogance and quarrelsomeness of the 
French, and their jealousy at the success of neighbouring 
peoples, did not originate with the working and industrial 
classes, but with the journalists and the mob. These elements, 
however, swayed public opinion, constraining it to their will. 
For that reason the moral guarantees to which the general had 
referred would be of no value. We must have material guaran- 
tees, at present by the capitulation of the army in Sedan, and 
then by the cession of the great fortresses in the East. The 
surrender of the French troops took place on a kind of penin- 
sula formed by a bend of the Meuse. Moltke had ridden out 
some distance from Vendresse to meet the King. The interview 
between the two Sovereigns took place in the drawing-room of 



the chateau of Bellevue. They were alone together for about 
ten minutes. Subsequently the King summoned the officers of 
his suite, ordered the capitulation to be read to him, and with 
tears in his eyes, thanked them for their assistance. The Crown 
Prince is understood to have informed the Hessian regiments 
that the King had selected Cassel for the internment of the 
Emperor Napoleon, in recognition of their gallantry. 

The Minister dined with the King at Vendresse, where we 
once more put up for the night, but he nevertheless took some 
refreshment with us afterwards. He read over to us a portion 
of a letter from his wife, energetically expressing in biblical 
terms her hope that the French would be destroyed. He then 
added meditatively, "Well, in 1866 — seven days. This time 
possibly seven times seven. Yes — when did we cross the 
frontier ? On the 4th ? No, on the lOth of August. Five 
weeks ago. Seven times seven — it may be possible." 

I again send off a couple of articles to Germany, amongst 
them being one on the results of the battle of the ist 

We are to start for Reims to-morrow, our first halt to be at 

Rethely September /s^th. Evening. — Early this morning be- 
fore we left Vendresse I was called to the Chief, to receive 
instructions respecting reports for the newspapers of his meet- 
ing with Napoleon. Towards the close he practically dictated 
what I was to say.^ Shortly afterwards, about half-past 10, the 
carriages arrived, and we began our journey into the cham- 
pagne country. The way was at first somewhat hilly, then we 
came to a softly undulating plain, with numerous fruit gar- 
dens, and finally to a poor district with very few villages. We 
passed some large detachments of troops, at first Bavarians, 
and afterwards the 6th and 50th Prussian regiments. Amongst 
the latter Willisch saw his brother, who had been in battle and 
had escaped unwounded. A little further on the carriage of 
Prince Charles had to be left behind at a village, as the axle 
had caught fire. We took Count Donhoff, the Prince's master 
of the horse, and Major von Freyberg, aide-de-camp to Prince 
Luitpold of Bavaria, into our conveyance. The tragedy at 

1 These particulars are worked up into the preceding chapter. 


Bazeilles was mentioned, and the Major gave an account of 
the circumstances, which differed considerably from that of 
Count Bohlen. According to him twenty peasants, including 
one woman, lost their lives, but they were killed in fight while 
opposing the soldiers, who stormed the place. A priest was 
afterwards shot by court-martial. The Major, however, does 
not appear to have been a witness of the occurrences which he 
relates, so that his account of the affair may also prove to be 
inaccurate. He knew nothing of the hangings mentioned by 
Bohlen. There are some people whose tongues are more cruel 
than their dispositions. 

We arrived at Rethel about 5.30 p.m. The quartermaster 
had chosen a lodging for us in the roomy and well-furnished 
residence of one M. Duval, in the Rue Grand Pont. The 
entire field bureau of the Foreign Office was quartered in 
this house. After dinner I was summoned three times to 
receive instructions from the Chief. Amongst other things 
he said : " Metz and Strasburg are what we require and what 
we wish to take — that is, the fortresses. Alsace is a profes- 
sorial idea." He evidently referred to the strong emphasis 
laid upon the German past of that province and the circum- 
stance that the inhabitants still retained the use of the German 

In the meantime the German newspapers were delivered. 
It was highly satisfactory to observe that the South German 
press also began to oppose the efforts of foreign diplomacy 
which desired to mediate in the negotiations for peace between 
ourselves and France. In this respect the Schwdbische Merkur 
was perfectly in accord with the Chief's views in saying: 
"When the German peoples marched to the Rhine in order 
to defend their native land, European diplomacy said the two 
antagonists must be allowed to fight out their own quarrel, and 
that the war must be thus localised. Well, we have carried 
on that war alone against those who threatened all Europe, 
and we now also desire to localise the conclusion of peace. In 
Paris we shall ourselves dictate the conditions which must 
protect the German people from a renewal of such predacious 
invasion as the war of 1870, and the diplomats of foreign 
Powers who looked on as spectators shall not be allowed to 
have anything to say in the matter. Those who took no part 




in the fight shall have no voice in the negotiations." "We 
must breed other articles from this one," said the Chief, and 
it did. 

ReifHS, September ^tk. — During the whole forenoon great 
masses of troops marched along a road not far from our quar- 
ters at Rethel Bridge. The procession was closed by four 
regiments of Prussian infantry. It was very noticeable how 
few officers there were. Several companies were under the 
command of young lieutenants or ensigns. This was the case 
with the 6th and 46th, one battalion of which carried a capt- 
ured French eagle. Although the day was stiflingly hot, and 
the men were covered with the white dust of the limestone 
roads, they marched steadily and well. Our coachman placed 
a bucket of water by the way, so that they could fill their tin 
cans and glasses, and sometimes their helmets, as they passed. 

Between 12 and i o'clock we started for Reims; the district 
through which the road runs is in great part an undulating plain 
with few villages. 

At length we see the towers of the Cathedral of Reims rising 
over the glistening plains, and beyond the town the blue heights 
that change to green as we approach them, and show white 
villages along their sides. We drive at first through poor out- 
skirts and then through better streets, and across a square with 
a monument, to the Rue de Cloitre, where we take up our quar- 
ters, opposite the Cathedral, in a handsome house, which belongs 
to a M. Dauphinot. The Chief lodged on the first floor, while 
the office was set up on the ground floor. The streets are 
crowded with Prussian and Wiirtemberg soldiers. The King 
has done the Archbishop the honour of taking up his quarters 
in his Palace. I hear that our landlord is the Maire of Reims. 
Keudell understands that the territory to be retained by us at 
the close of the war will probably not be incorporated with any 
one State or divided between several, but will become the col- 
lective possession of all Germany. 

In the evening the Chief dined with us, and as we are here 
in the centre of the champagne country we try several brands. 
In the course of conversation the Chief mentions that he is 
usually bored at the royal table. "When there are but few 
guests I sit near the King, and then it is tolerable. But when 
there are a great number present I am placed between the 


Bavarian Prince and the Grand Duke of Weimar, and then the 
conversation is inexpressibly tedious." Some one remarked that 
yesterday a shot was fired out of a cafe at a squadron of our 
hussars. The Minister said the house must be immediately 
destroyed, and the proprietor tried by court-martial. Stieber 
should be instructed to inquire into the matter. 

I understand we are to remain here for ten or twelve days. 

Tuesday y September 6th. — I have been working hard from 
10 to 3 o'clock without interruption in preparing, amongst other 
things, exhaustive, and also shorter, articles respecting the con- 
ditions upon which Germany should make peace. The Chief 
found an article that appeared in the Volks Zeitung of the 31st 
of August "very sensible and well worth calling attention to." 
The writer argued against the annexation to Prussia of the con- 
quered French territory ; and after endeavouring to show that 
such a course would rather weaken than strengthen Prussia, 
concluded with the words : " Our aim ought to be, not the 
aggrandisement of Prussia, but the unification of Germany, and 
to put it out of the power of France to harm us." Bamberger 
has established a French newspaper at Nancy, to which we are 
to send reports from time to time. 

At dinner Count Bohlen remarked, as he counted the places, 
" I hope we are not thirteen." " No." " That's right, as the 
Minister does not like that number." Bohlen, who seems to be 
charged with the supervision of the fleshpots, has to-day evi- 
dently inspired the genius of our chef -de-cuisine to one of his 
greatest achievements. The dinner is magnificent. Amongst 
the guests are Von Knobelsdorff, a captain in the Guards; 
Count York, and one Count Briihl, a somewhat bashful young 
man, in the uniform of a lieutenant of dragoons. The latter 
brought the great news that a Republic had been proclaimed in 
Paris and a Provisional Government appointed, in which Gam- 
betta, hitherto one of the orators of the Opposition, and Favre 
have portfolios. Rochefort, the editor of La LanternCy is also a 
member of the Cabinet. It is said that they wish to continue 
the war against us. The position has, therefore, not improved 
in so far as peace is concerned ; but it is also by no means 
worse, especially if the Republic lasts, and it becomes, later on, 
a question of gaining friends at foreign Courts. For the 
present it is all over with Napoleon and Lulu. Like Louis 




Philippe in 1848, the Empress has fled. We shall soon discover 
what the lawyers and literary men, who have now taken over 
the conduct of affairs, can do. Whether France will recognise 
their authority remains to be seen. 

Our uhlans are now at Chateau Thierry ; in two days they 
may reach Paris. It is now certain, however, that we shall 
remain another week at Reims. Count Bohlen reported to the 
Chief the result of his inquiries respecting the caf^ from which 
our cavalry were fired at. Yielding to the entreaties of the pro- 
prietor, who is believed to be innocent, the house has not been 
destroyed. Moreover, the treacherous shot failed of its effect. 
The proprietor has been let off with a fine of two hundred or 
two hundred and fifty bottles of champagne, to be presented to 
the squadron ; and this he gladly paid. 

At tea somebody (I now forget who it was) referred to the 
exceptional position accorded to the Saxons in the North Ger- 
man Confederation as regards military arrangements. The 
Chancellor did not consider the matter of much importance. 
" Moreover, that arrangement was not made on my initiative," 
he observed ; " Savigny concluded the treaty, as I was seriously 
ill at the time. I am disposed to regard even less narrowly the 
arrangements respecting the foreign relations of the smaller 
States. Many people lay too much stress on this point, and 
apprehend danger from the retention of their diplomatic repre- 
sentatives besides those of the Confederation. If such States 
were in other respects powerful, they could, even without official 
representatives, exchange letters with foreign Courts and in- 
trigue by word of mouth against our policy. That could be 
managed by a dentist or any other personage of that descrip- 
tion. Moreover, the Diets will soon refuse to grant the sums 
required for all such luxuries." 

Thursday y September Zth. — The Chancellor gives a great 
dinner, the guests including the Hereditary Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Herr Stephan, the Chief Director of the 
Post Office, and the three Americans. Amongst other matters 
mentioned at table were the various reports as to the affair at 
Bazeilles. The Minister said that peasants could not be per- 
mitted to take part in the defence of a position. Not being in 
uniform they could not be recognised as combatants — they 
were able to throw away their arms unnoticed. The chances 


must be equal for both sides. Abeken considered that Bazeilles 
was hardly treated, and thought the war ought to be conducted 
in a more humane manner. Sheridan, to whom MacLean has 
translated these remarks, is of a different opinion. He con- 
siders that in war it is expedient, even from the political point 
of view, to treat the population with the utmost rigour also. He 
expressed himself roughly as follows : " The proper strategy 
consists in the first place in inflicting as telling blows as possible 
upon the enemy's army, and then in causing the inhabitants so 
much suffering that they must long for peace, and force their 
Government to demand it. The people must be left nothing 
but their eyes to weep with over the war." Somewhat heartless, 
it seems to me, but perhaps worthy of consideration. 

Friday, September <^th. — Engaged all the forenoon and until 
3 o'clock in writing various articles, amongst others one on the 
inconceivable attachment of the Alsacians to France, their vol- 
untary helotry, and the blindness which will not permit them to 
see and feel that the Gauls only regard them as a kind of second- 
rate Frenchmen, and in many respects treat them accordingly. 
News has arrived that Paris is not to be defended against us 
nor regarded as a fortress. This is very questionable, as, ac- 
cording to other reports, the French have still some regular 
troops at their disposal, although not many. 

Saturday, September lOtk. — The Chief dined with the King 
to-day, but also joined us at table for half an hour. Bohlen, 
who had visited the Imperial chateau at Mourmelon, near Cha- 
lons, told us how the people had wrecked the whole place, 
breaking the furniture, mirrors, etc. After dinner the Chan- 
cellor had a long talk alone with Boyen and Delbriick, who were 
amongst the guests. I was afterwards summoned to the Minis- 
ter to receive instructions respecting a communique to the two 
French newspapers published here, namely the Courier de la 
Champagne and the Independent R^mois. It was to the follow- 
ing effect : " If the Reims press were to declare itself in favour 
of the proclamation of a French Republic, and recognise the 
new Government by publishing its decrees, it might be inferred 
that as the town is occupied by German troops the organs in 
question were acting in harmony with the views of the German 
Government. This is not the case. The German Government 
respects the liberty of the press here as at home. It has, how- 




ever, up to the present recognised no Government in France ex- 
cept that of the Emperor Napoleon. Therefore until further 
notice it can only recognise the Imperial Government as author- 
ised to enter upon international negotiations." 

I give the following from my diary merely to show the genu- 
ine kindness and simple good-heartedness of our Chief. After 
giving me myinstructions he remarked that I had not been look- 
ing well ; and when I told him I had been rather unwell for the 
last few days, he inquired minutely into the details, and asked 
me whether I had consulted any doctor. I said I had not much 
faith in physicians. 

"Well," he replied, "they certainly are not of much use as 
a rule, and often only make us worse. But this is no laughing 
matter. Send to Lauer — he is really a good man. I cannot 
tell you how much my health owes to him during this campaign. 
Go to bed for a couple of days and you will be all right again. 
Otherwise you will have a relapse and may not be able to stir 
for three weeks. I often suffer in the same way, and then I 
take thirty to thirty-five drops from that little bottle on the 
chimney-piece. Take it with you, but bring it back again. And 
when I send for you tell me if you are not able to come and I 
will go to you. You can perhaps write in bed." 

Stmday, September nth. — The Chief's bottle has had an 
excellent effect. I was again able to rise early and work with 
ease. The contents of the communique v^o^re, forwarded to the 
newspaper at Nancy as well as to the German press. It was 
pointed out, in correction of the remarks of the Kieler Zeitung 
and the Berlin Volkszeitung, that Prussia did not conclude the 
Peace of Prague with France, but with Austria, and that, con- 
sequently, the French have as little to do with paragraph 5 as 
with any other paragraph of that treaty. 

In the course of the day one M. Werle called upon the 
Chief. He was a tall, haggard man, with the red ribbon in his 
button-hole, which appears to be indispensable to every well- 
dressed Frenchman. He is understood to be a member of 
the Legislative Chamber, and a partner in the firm of Veuve 
Clicquot. He wished to speak to the Chief as to measures for 
mitigating the distress which prevailed in the town, and for 
providing against popular riots. It was feared that the work- 
ing classes here, being in a state of ferment, would declare in 



favour of a Red Republic. As Reims was an industrial centre, 
with ten or twelve thousand oiivriers within its walls, there might 
be general ground for apprehension on the withdrawal of our 
troops. That also was a thing one could have hardly dreamed 
of a month ago — German soldiers protecting the French from 
communism ! 

After dinner I was summoned several times to the Chief 
to receive instructions. In Belgium and Luxemburg our 
wounded were received in an unfriendly manner, and it is sus- 
pected, probably not without reason, that ultramontane influ- 
ence is at the bottom of this conduct. Favre, " who does not 
exist for us," as the Chief declared to-day, has asked, indirectly 
through London, whether we are disposed to grant an armis- 
tice and to enter into negotiations. Favre seems to consider 
this question as very pressing. The Chancellor, however, does 

When Bolsing brought in the despatch from Bernstorff, 
stating that Lord Granville requested an early reply from 
the Chancellor of the Confederation to Favre' s inquiry, the 
Minister simply remarked, " There is no hurry to answer this 

After lo P.M. the Chief joined us at tea. 

The conversation ultimately turned on the politics of recent 
years. The Chancellor said: "What I am proudest of, how- 
ever, is our success in the Schleswig-Holstein affair, in which 
the diplomatic intrigues would furnish matter for a play. In 
the first place, Austria could not well have sided with the 
Augustenburger in presence of her previous attitude as re- 
corded in the proceedings of the Germanic Diet, for which she 
was bound to show some regard. Then she wanted to find 
some tolerable way out of the embarrassment in which she had 
involved herself with the Congress of Princes at Frankfort. 
Immediately after the death of the King of Denmark I ex- 
plained what I wanted in a long speech at a sitting of the 
Council of State. The official who drew up the minutes of the 
sitting omitted the most important part of my speech; he must 
have thought that I had lunched too well and would be glad 
if he left it out. But I took care that it was again inserted. 
It was difficult, however, to carry my idea into execution. 
Everything was against it — Austria, the Enghsh, the small 




States — both Liberal and anti-Liberal, the Opposition in the 
Diet, influential personages at Court, and the majority of the 

" Yes, at that time there was some hard fighting, the hardest 
being with the Court, and it demanded stronger nerves than 
mine. It was about the same at Baden-Baden before the Con- 
gress at Frankfort, when the King of Saxony was in Baden, 
and wanted our King to go to that Assembly. It was literally 
in the sweat of my brow that I prevented him from doing so." 
I asked the Chief, after some further remarks, if the King had 
really wished to join the other Princes. " He certainly did," 
replied the Minister, "and I only succeeded with the utmost 
difficulty in preventing him, literally hanging on to his coat- 
tails." The Chief then continued to the following effect: "His 
Majesty said he could not well do otherwise when a King had 
come to him as a courier to bring the invitation. All the women 
were in favour of his going, the Dowager Queen, the reigning 
Queen, and the Grand Duchess of Baden. I declared to the 
Dowager that I would not remain Minister nor return to Berlin 
if the King allowed himself to be persuaded. She said she was 
very sorry, but if I seriously meant that, she must surrender her 
own view and use her influence with the King in the other di- 
rection, although it was greatly opposed to her own convictions. 
The affair was, however, still made quite disagreeable enough 
for me. After the King of Saxony and Beust had been with 
him, his Majesty lay on the sofa and had an attack of hysterical 
weeping ; and when at length I had succeeded in wringing from 
him the letter of refusal, I was myself so weak and exhausted 
that I could scarcely stand. Indeed, I actually reeled as I left 
the room, and was so nervous and unhinged that in closing the 
outer door I tore off the handle. The aide-de-camp asked me 
if I was unwell. I said, * No, I am all right again now.' I told 
Beust, however, that I would have the regiment stationed at 
Rastatt brought over to guard the house, and to prevent any- 
body else having access to the King in order to put fresh pres- 
sure upon him." Keudell also mentioned that the Minister had 
intended to get Beust arrested. It was getting late when the 
Chief had finished his narrative of those events, so he retired, 
saying : " Yes, gentlemen, a delicate nervous system has to en- 
dure a good deal. I shall therefore be off to bed. Good night." 



Monday, September 12th. — Engaged writing various para- 
graphs till noon. 

According to some of the German papers the Chief had 
declared that in the battle of Sedan, Prussia's allies fought best. 
What he said, however, was only that they cooperated in the 
best possible way. "The Belgians," said the Minister, "dis- 
play such hatred towards us and such warm attachment for the 
French, that perhaps after all something might be done to sat- 
isfy them. It might at any rate be well to suggest that ar- 
rangements even with the present French Government are not 
entirely out of the question, which would gratify Belgian yearn- 
ings towards France. Call attention," added the Chief, "to 
the fact that the present animosity in Belgium is due chiefly to 
ultramontane agitation." 

The Bavarian Count Luxburg, who is staying with Kiihlwet- 
ter, has distinguished himself by his talent and zeal. In future 
he is to take part in the consideration of all important questions. 

A report has been received to the effect that America has 
offered her services as a mediator between ourselves and the 
new French Republic. This mediation will not be declined, 
and as a matter of fact would be preferred to that of any other 
State. It may be assumed that the authorities at Washington 
are not disposed to interfere with our necessary military opera- 
tions, which would, however, probably be the consequence of 
such mediation. The Chief appears to have been for a consid- 
erable time past well disposed towards the Americans, and not 
long ago it was understood that he hoped to secure permission 
to fit out ships in the American harbours against the French 
navy. Doubtless there is no longer any probability of this 
being done. 

To conclude from a communication which he has forwarded 
to Carlsruhe, the Minister regards the general situation as fol- 
lows : " Peace seems to be still very remote, as the Government 
in Paris does fiot promise to be permanent. When the proper 
moment for negotiations has arrived, the King will summon his 
allies to consider our demands. Our principal object is and 
remains to secure the South- Western German frontier against 
the danger of a French invasion, to which it has now been sub- 
jected for centuries. A neutral buffer State like Belgium or 
Switzerland would not serve our purpose, as it would unques- 




tionably join France in case of a fresh outbreak of war, Metz 
and Strasburg, with an adequate portion of surrounding terri- 
tory, must belong to all Germany, to serve as a protective bar- 
rier against the French. The partition of this territory between 
single States is inexpedient. The fact that this war has been 
waged in common cannot fail to have exercised a healthy influ- 
ence in other respects on the cause of German unity ; but never- 
theless Prussia will, as a matter of course, after the war as 
before it, respect the views of the South, and avoid even the 
suspicion of any kind of pressure. In this matter a great deal 
will depend upon the personal disposition and determination of 
the King of Bavaria." 

Before dinner to-day Prince Luitpold of Bavaria had a long 
interview with the Chief. In the evening at tea the Minister, 
referring to this interview, said : " The Prince is certainly a 
good fellow, but I rather doubt whether he understood the his- 
torical and political statements which I made to him to-day." 

I have reason to believe that this interview was the begin- 
ning of negotiations (which were several times interrupted) 
between the Chancellor of the Confederation and the Emperors 
of Austria and Russia, which gradually led to an understand- 
ing and finally resulted in the so-called Drei Kaiser Bundniss, 
or Three Emperors' Alliance. The object of these " historical 
and political statements " was to induce Prince Luitpold to write 
a letter to his brother-in-law, the Archduke Albrecht, submit- 
ting certain views to the personal consideration of the Emperor 
Francis Joseph. This was one of the few ways in which it 
appeared possible for those considerations to reach the Em- 
peror's own ear in an ungarbled form. They were as follows : 
The turn which events have taken in Paris renders it possible 
to regard the present war between Germany and France as a 
defence of monarchical conservative principles against the re- 
publican and socialistic tenets adopted by the present holders 
of power in France. The proclamation of the Republic in Paris 
has been welcomed with warm approval in Spain, and it is to 
be expected that it will obtain a like reception in Italy. In 
that circumstance lies the great danger for those European 
States that are governed on a monarchical system. The best 
security for the cause of order and civilisation against this soli- 
darity of the revolutionary and republican elements would be a 


closer union of those countries which, like Germany, Russia, 
and Austria, still afford a firm support to the monarchical princi- 
ple. Austria, however, can only be included in such an under- 
standing when it is recognised in that country that the attempts 
hitherto made in the Cisleithan half of the monarchy to intro- 
duce a liberal system are based on a mistaken policy, as are 
also the national experiments in a Polish direction. The ap- 
pointment of Klaczko, a Polish literary man, to a position in 
which he is in close relations with Beust, the Chancellor of the 
Empire, whose policy and tendency are well known, together 
with the latest declarations of Klaczko, must be regarded as 
indications of Beust's own views and intentions. This coopera- 
tion with the Polish revolutionists, together with the hostility to 
Russia which is manifested thereby, is for the Chancellor of the 
German Confederation a serious hindrance to good relations 
with Austria, and must at the same time be regarded as an indi- 
cation of hostility to ourselves. In connection with the above 
the position of the Cisleithan half of the dual State must be 
taken into consideration, and the difficulties which it presents 
cannot be overcome except by a conservative regime. It is 
only through the frank adoption of relations of mutual confi- 
dence towards united Germany and Russia that Austria can 
find the support which she requires against revolutionary and 
centrifugal forces, a support which she has lost through the 
disastrous policy of Count Beust. 

Prince Luitpold's letter giving expression to these views 
failed to produce the desired result. It is true that the Arch- 
duke Albrecht submitted it to the Emperor, but he showed it 
at the same time to Beust. His answer, which was inspired 
by Beust, was in the main to the effect that Austria, so long as 
no special political advantages were offered by us, did not feel 
any need of support. If Prussia, as it would appear, regarded 
a rapprochement with Austria as desirable or requisite, nothing 
had been heard so far as to what she had to offer in return to 
the dual monarchy, whose interests were complex. The Em- 
peror would gladly consider any suggestions that reached him 
in a direct way. 

The Tsar Alexander was informed of the attempt made in 
Vienna through the Bavarian Prince, his attention being at the 
same time called to the notorious understanding which existed 


between the present Government in Paris and the revolutionary 
propagandists throughout Europe. The desirability of a close 
cooperation of the Eastern Powers against this movement was 
urged upon him on the one hand, while on the other the neces- 
sity was pointed out for Germany to avoid, when concluding 
peace, anything which might look like disregard for the real 
requirements of the country in the matter of frontier protection 
and security, and thus give the German revolutionary party an 
opportunity of poisoning the public mind. The Tsar declared 
himself in perfect agreement with these views, and expressed a 
strong desire for the realisation of the proposed union of the 
monarchical elements against the revolutionary movement. 

Subsequently, after the insurrection of the communists in 
Paris, the progress of the International, upon which considera- 
ble stress was also laid in the Press, was used as a further argu- 
ment for the combination of the conservative Powers against 
the republican and socialistic propaganda. This time the repre- 
sentations in question met with more success in Vienna. 

Tuesday^ September I'^th. — In the course of the forenoon I 
was called in to the Chancellor six times, and wrote as many 
paragraphs for the Press. Amongst them were two for the 
local French papers, which also received some information from 
us yesterday. Arrangements were made to secure the insertion 
of the portrait and biography of General von Blumenthal in the 
illustrated papers with which we entertain friendly relations, a 
distinction which he has well deserved. "So far as one can 
see," said the Chief, " the papers make no mention of him, 
although he is chief of the staff to the Crown Prince, and, next 
after Moltke, deserves most credit for the conduct of the war. 

" I should like a grant to be made to him. He won the 
battles of Weissenburg and Worth, and afterwards those of 
Beaumont and Sedan, as the Crown Prince was not always 
interfering with his plans, as Prince Frederick Charles did in 
1866. The latter fancied that he understood a great deal about 
these matters." 

In the evening the Count sent for me once more. It was 
merely to show me a telegram, which he handed to me with 
a smile. It was a message from the Grand Duke of Weimar 
to the Grand Duchess, couched in the style of the King's 
despatches to the Queen, in which the Duke reported, " My 


army has fought very bravely." Greatness, like murder, will 
out. But still there are cases in which imitation had better be 

On the 14th of September, shortly before 10 o'clock, we 
started for Chateau Thierry, and reached Meaux on the next day. 

Before dinner we heard that a parlementaire had arrived 
from Paris, a slight dark-haired young gentleman, who is now 
standing in the courtyard before the Chief's house. From his 
language he would appear to be an Englishman. In the even- 
ing he has a long conversation with the Chief over a bottle of 
kirschwasser, and turns out to be Mr. Edward Malet, an attach^ 
of the British Embassy in Paris. As I had to pass through the 
ante-chamber I noticed the attendant, Engel, with his ear to the 
keyhole, curious to know what they were talking about. He 
had brought a letter to Lord Lyons asking whether the Count 
would enter into negotiations with Faure as to the conditions of 
an armistice. The Chancellor is understood to have replied : 
"As to conditions of peace, yes; but not for an armistice."^ 

I see from the letters of some Berlin friends that many well- 
meaning and patriotic persons cannot bring themselves to ac- 
cept the idea that the conquered territory is not to be annexed 
to Prussia. According to a communication from Heinrich von 
Treitschke, of Freiburg, it is feared that Alsace and Lorraine 
may be handed over to Bavaria, and that a new dual system may 
thus arise. In a letter to the Chief he says : " It is obvious that 
Prussia alone is capable of once more Germanising the Teutonic 
provinces of France." He refers to a " circumstance to which 
too little attention is paid in the North — namely, that all sen- 
sible men in South Germany desire to see Alsace handed over 
to Prussia ; " and declares that " it is a great mistake if it is 
thought in the North that the South must be rewarded by an 
increase of territory and population." I cannot imagine where 
Treitschke can have heard such erroneous views. So far as I 
am aware they are held by none of our people. I fancy it is 
thought here that the South will be sufficiently rewarded in 
being at length secured against French lust of conquest. Other 
ideas of the writer can only be regarded as sound in certain 
circumstances. Our Chief's plan, to which I have previously 
referred, is unquestionably more just and better adapted to the 

1 In presence of later events he can hardly have expressed himself in this way. 




existing situation — namely, to make those provinces the com- 
mon property of all Germany. By taking that course the con- 
quered territory would not become an object of envy and a cause 
of dissatisfaction to Prussia's allies, but, on the contrary, would 
serve as a bond of union between North and South. 

I hear from Willisch that certain apprehensions are enter- 
tained in Berlin, which are understood to originate in the 
entourage of the Queen. Owing to the anxiety occasioned by 
the blowing-up of the citadel at Laon, objections are raised to 
the King entering Paris, where, it is apprehended, something 
might happen to him. Wrangel has telegraphed in this sense 
to the King, and it is stated that as a matter of fact his Majesty 
is now no longer inclined to go to Paris, and is disposed to await 
the further development of affairs at Rothschild's place in 
Ferri^res, which lies about half-way between Meaux and Paris. 

Prince Hohenlohe dines at our table, where the Chief also 
joins us after returning from dinner with the King. We learn 
that Reims will be the administrative centre of the French 
provinces occupied by our troops, with the exception of Alsace 
and Lorraine. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg is Governor- 
General, and will be at the head of the administration, and 
Hohenlohe will take a position under him. 

The Chief remarked to his cousin, who complained of not 
feeling well: "At your age" (Bohlen is now thirty-eight) "I 
was still as sound as a bell, and could take all sorts of liberties 
with myself. It was at St. Petersburg that my health first 
sprang a leak." 

Somebody turned the conversation on Paris and the subject 
of the French and the Alsacians. The Chief gave his views on 
this matter very fully, addressing his remarks to me at the 
close, which I took to be a permission, or a hint, that I should 
either get his words or their purport into the newspapers. The 
Alsacians and the Germans of Lorraine, he declared, supply 
France with numbers of capable men, especially for the army, 
but they are not held of much account by the French, and sel- 
dom attain to high positions in the service of the State, while 
they are laughed at by the Parisians, who make caricatures and 
stories out of them, just as the Irish are laughed at in London. 
** Other French provincials are treated in the same way," added 
the Minister, "if not quite so badly. To a certain extent, 


France is divided into two nations, the Parisians and the Pro- 
vincials, and the latter are the voluntary helots of the former. 
The object to be aimed at now is the emancipation, the libera- 
tion, of France from Parisian rule. When a provincial feels 
that he is capable of making a future for himself he comes to 
Paris, and is there adopted into, and becomes one of, the ruling 
caste. It is a question whether we should not oblige them to 
take back the Emperor as a punishment. That is still possible, 
as the peasants do not wish to be tyrannised from Paris. 
France is a nation of ciphers — a mere herd. The French are 
wealthy and elegant, but they have no individuality, no con- 
sciousness as individuals, but only as a mass. They are like 
thirty million obedient Kaffirs, each one of whom is in himself 
featureless and worthless, not fit to be compared with Russians 
and Italians, to say nothing of ourselves. It was an easy task 
to recruit out of this impersonal, invertebrate mass a phalanx 
ready to oppress the remainder of the country so long as it was 
not united." 

After dinner wrote several paragraphs in accordance with 
the Chief's instructions and explanations. The subjects were : 
The German friends of the Republic — men like Jacobi, the 
socialistic democrats, and others holding similar views — will 
not hear of the annexation of French territory, being in the first 
place republicans, and only in a secondary sense, to a certain 
extent, German. The security afforded to Germany by the 
seizure of Strasburg and Metz is detestable to them, as it is a 
bulwark against the Republic which they want to see established, 
weakening their propaganda, and injuring their prospects on our 
side of the Rhine. They place their party higher than their 
country. They welcomed the opposition to Napoleon, because 
he was an opponent of their doctrines, but since he has been 
replaced by the Republic they have become Frenchmen in 
sentiment and disposition. Russia has expressed a desire for a 
revision of the treaty entered into as the result of her defeat in 
the Crimean War. The alterations proposed in certain points of 
that instrument must be regarded as just. The Peace of Paris 
includes conditions respecting the Black Sea which are unfair, 
in view of the fact that a great part of the coast belongs to 
Russia. This must, however, be cautiously expressed. 

The conjecture that the Crown Prince is of opinion that the 




Bavarians and Suabians, if they are not disposed willingly to 
form part of united Germany, must be compelled to do so, is 
correct. He is inclined to act on the maxim, Der Bien muss. 
I hear that at Donchery, or near that town, he had a long con- 
versation on the subject with the Chancellor, who declared him- 
self strongly against this idea. 

Saturday y Septeviber 17th. — I did a good deal of work this 
morning and afternoon from instructions received yesterday. 
Amongst other things, I embodied in an article the following 
ideas, which are very characteristic of the Chancellor's manner 
of thinking : — 

"The morning edition of the National Zeitungoi September 
nth contains a paragraph entitled 'From Wilhelmshohe,* in 
which the writer, after lamenting the considerate treatment of 
the Prisoner of Sedan, falls into further errors. Nemesis should 
have shown no indulgence towards the man of December 2nd, 
the author of the laws of public safety, the prime mover in the 
Mexican tragedy, and the instigator of the present terrible war. 
The victor has been * far too chivalrous.' That is the way in 
which the matter is regarded by * public opinion,' as endorsed 
apparently by the writer. We do not in any way share those 
views. Public opinion is only too much disposed to treat politi- 
cal relations and events from the standpoint of private morals, 
and, amongst other things, to demand that in international con- 
flicts the victor, guided by the moral code, should sit in judg- 
ment upon the vanquished, and impose penalties not only for 
the transgressions of the latter towards himself, but also, if 
possible, towards others. Such a demand is entirely unjustifi- 
able. To advance it shows an utter misapprehension of the 
nature of political affairs, with which the conceptions of punish- 
ment, reward, and revenge have nothing in common. To accede 
to it would be to pervert the whole character of politics. Politics 
must leave to Divine Providence and to the God of Battles 
the punishment of princes and peoples for breaches of the 
moral law. The statesman has neither the authority nor the 
obligation to assume the office of judge. In all circumstances 
the sole question he has to consider is what, under the conditions 
given, is to the advantage of the country, and how that advan- 
tage is to be best secured. The kindlier affections have as little 
place in the calculations of politics as they have in those of trade. 



It is not the business of politics to seek vengeance for what has 
been done, but to take precautions that it shall not be done 
again. Applying these principles to our case, and to our con- 
duct towards the vanquished and imprisoned Emperor of the 
French, we take the liberty to ask by what right are we to 
punish him for the 2nd of December, the law of public safety, 
and the occurrences in Mexico, however much we may dis- 
approve of those acts ? Political principles do not even permit 
us to think of taking revenge for the present war, of which he 
was the author. Were we to entertain such an idea, then it is 
not alone on Napoleon but almost on every single Frenchman 
that we should wreak the Bliicher-like vengeance mentioned by 
the National Zeitung ; for the whole of France, with her thirty- 
five million inhabitants, showed just as much approval of, and 
enthusiasm for, this war as for the Mexican expedition. Ger- 
many has simply to ask herself the further question, which is 
more advantageous in the present circumstances, to treat Napo- 
leon well or ill } And that, we believe, is not difficult to answer. 
Upon the same principles we also acted in 1866. If certain of 
the measures taken in that year and certain provisions in the 
Treaty of Prague could be regarded as acts of revenge for 
former affronts, and punishments for the offences that led to 
the war in question, the parties affected by those measures and 
conditions tv^ere not exactly those who had deserved the severest 
punishment or had done most to excite a desire for vengeance. 
Herr von Beust's Saxony suffered no reduction of territory in 
consequence of that crisis, and Austria just as little." This 
last sentence, which appeared literally as it now stands in the 
Chief's instructions, was afterwards struck out by him. He 
remarked with a smile, " It is better not to mention names." 

Sunday^ September \%th. — Early in the day wrote para- 
graphs for Berlin, Hagenau, and Reims, dealing, inter alia, with 
Favre's declaration that " La Republique c'est la paix." It was 
in the main to the following effect. During the last forty years 
France has always declared herself in favour of peace in every 
form, and has invariably acted in an entirely contrary spirit. 
Twenty years ago the Empire declared peace to be its ideal, 
and now the Republic does the same. In 1829 Legitimacy 
made a similar declaration, and at the same time a Franco- 
Russian alliance was concluded with the object of attacking 


Germany ; and the execution of that plan was only prevented 
by the Revolution of 1830. It is also known that the ** peaceful " 
administration of the "Citizen King" desired to seize the Rhine 
in 1840; and it will be remembered that under the Empire 
France has conducted more wars than under any other form of 
government. These facts show what we have to expect from 
M. Favre's assurances respecting his Republic. Germany has 
one answer to all these representations, namely, "La France 
c'est la guerre ! " and will act in accordance with that convic- 
tion in demanding the cession of Metz and Strasburg. 

The Minister joined us at lunch to-day, at which two dragoon 
guardsmen were also present. Both wore the Iron Cross. 
One of them. Lieutenant Philip von Bismarck, was the Chan- 
cellor's nephew, an official of the Supreme Court of Judicature 
in times of peace. The Chief asked him whether the Prince of 
Hohenzollern, who was attached to the Lieutenant's regiment, 
was " also a soldier, or merely a Prince ? " The answer was 
favourable. The Minister replied : " I am glad of that. The 
fact of his having announced his election as King of Spain to 
his superior officer, in accordance with the regulations, impressed 
me in his favour." 

The conversation turned upon the cost of maintaining Na- 
poleon at Wilhelmshohe, which is stated to be something 
enormous. On this the Chief remarked : " It is at the Queen's 
instance that Napoleon has been allowed to maintain a Court at 
the King's expense. His Majesty had only proposed to give 
him one domestic who was to keep watch over him. But he 
himself observed to me that women are always addicted to 

Mention was made of General Ducrot, who was taken 
prisoner at Sedan, and who, being allowed greater liberty on 
pledging his word not to escape, disgraced himself by abscond- 
ing on the way to Germany. The Chief remarked : " When 
one catches scoundrels of that kind who have broken their 
word (of course, I don't blame those who get away without it), 
they ought to be strung up in their red breeches with the word 
Parjtcre written on one leg, and hifdme on the other. In the 
meantime that must be put in its proper light in the press. 
The fellow must be shown up." The barbarous manner in 
which the French were conducting the war having been again 

142 SOUTH GERMANY [Seft. 19, 1870 

referred to, the Minister said : " If you peel the white hide off 
that sort of Gaul you will find a Turco under it." 

Added later. — Von Suckow, the Wiirtemberg Minister of 
War, has been a considerable time with the Chief to-day, and it 
is understood that the German cause is making excellent prog- 
ress amongst the Suabians. Things appear to be going less 
well in Bavaria, where the Minister, Bray, seems to be as 
hostile to the national cause as he well can be in the present 

Monday ^ September igth. — It is said to be certain that Favre 
will arrive here to-day at noon for the purpose of negotiating 
with the Chief. He will have fine weather for his business. 
About 10 o'clock Count Bismarck-Bohlen comes from the 
Chief. We are to start immediately for the Chateau of Fer- 
rieres, four or five hours' journey from here. So we pack up 
in all haste. 


bismarck and favre at haute-maison — a fortnight in 
Rothschild's chateau 

Jules Favre not having arrived up to midday on the 19th 
of September, our party started. The Minister, however, left a 
letter for Favre at the Mairie, and told a servant to mention the 
fact to him in case he came. The Chief and the Councillors 
rode on ahead of the carriages, of which I had one entirely to 
myself. We first passed by the residence of the King, who 
was quartered in a handsome chateau on the Promenade ; and 
between the villages of Mareuil and Montry we met a two-horse 
hackney, in which a Prussian officer sat with three civilians. 
One of the latter was an elderly gentleman with a grey beard 
and a protruding under lip. " That's Favre," I said to Kriiger, 
the Chancery attendant who sat behind me. "Where is the 
Minister .•* " He was not to be seen but had probably gone on 
before us, and the long train of conveyances cut off our view in 
front. We drove on rapidly, and after a while I met the Chief 
and Keudell riding back in the opposite direction. 

" Favre has driven by. Excellency," I said. 

" I know," he replied, smiling, and trotted on. 

Next day Count Hatzfeld gave us some particulars of the 
meeting between the Chancellor of the Confederation and the 
Parisian lawyer now one of the rulers of France. The Minister, 
Count Hatzfeld, and Keudell were half an hour ahead of us 
when Hofrath Taglioni, who drove with the King's suite, told 
them that Favre had passed by. He had come by another 
route and had only reached its junction with our road after the 
Chief had ridden by. The Minister was very angry at not 
having been sooner informed of this. Hatzfeld galloped after 
Favre, with whom he returned, finally meeting the Chief at 
Montry. Here the attention of the Minister was called to the 
little chateau of Haute-Maison, situated on a height some ten 
minutes from the village, as a suitable place for the interview 



with the Frenchman. There the party found two Wiirtemberg 
dragoons, one of whom was instructed to take his carbine and 
mount guard before the house. They also met there a French 
peasant, who looked as if he had just received a good thrashing. 
While our people were asking this man whether it was possible 
to get anything to eat or drink, Favre, who had gone into the 
house with the Chancellor, came out for a moment and ad- 
dressed his countryman in a speech full of pathos and noble 
sentiments. Disorderly attacks had been made, he said, which 
must be stopped. He, Favre, was not a spy but on the con- 
trary a member of the new government which had undertaken 
to defend the interests of the country and which represented its 
dignity. In the name of international law and of the honour of 
France he called upon him to keep watch and to see that the 
place was held sacred. That was imperatively demanded by 
his, the statesman's, honour, as well as by that of the peasant, 
and so forth. The honest rustic looked particularly silly as he 
listened open-mouthed to all this high falutin, which he evi- 
dently understood as little as if it were so much Greek. Keudell 
remarked, " If this is the individual who is to preserve us from a 
surprise, I for my part prefer to trust to the sentry." 

On the same evening I learnt from another source that 
lodgings had been taken for Favre in the village near the 
Chateau of Ferrieres, as he desired to have a further con- 
ference with the Chief. He was accompanied by MM. Rink 
and Hell, formerly Secretaries of Embassy under Benedetti, 
and Prince Biron. Keudell said, "As the Chancellor left the 
room where his interview with Favre had taken place, he asked 
the dragoon who was on guard before the door whence he 
came. The man replied, * From Schwabisch-Hall.' * Well, 
then, you may be proud,' he continued, ' of having stood guard 
over the first negotiation for peace in this war.' " 

In the meantime the remainder of us had a long wait at 
Cheffy for the return of the Chancellor, and then — probably 
with his permission — drove on to Ferrieres, which we reached 
in about two hours. On the way we passed along the edge of 
the zone which the French had designedly laid waste all round 
Paris. Here the destruction was not very marked, but the pop- 
ulation of the villages seemed to have been in great part driven 
away by the Gardes Mobiles.. 



At length, just as it began to grow dark, we entered the 
village of Ferri^res, and shortly afterwards Rothschild's estate. 
The King and the first section of his suite took up their quarters 
for a considerable time in this chateau. The Minister was to 
lodge in the last three rooms on the first floor of the right wing, 
looking out on the meadows and the park. A large drawing- 
room on the ground floor was selected for the bureau, and a 
smaller one of the same corridor as a breakfast and dining- 
room. Baron Rothschild was in Paris, and only left behind 
him three or four female domestics and a housekeeper, who 
gave himself great airs of importance. 

It was already dark when the Chief arrived, and shortly 
after we sat down to dinner. While we were still at table a 
message was received from Favre, asking when he could come 
to continue the negotiations. He had a conference tite-^-tite 
with the Chancellor in our bureau from 9.30 p.m. until after 11. 
On leaving he looked distressed, crestfallen, almost in despair 
— my diary remarks that possibly this expression was assumed 
with the object of impressing the Minister. 

In connection with the news that the King has gone to 
Clayes in order to prevent an attack being made by our troops, 
the Chief, in the course of conversation at dinner, said, amongst 
other things, that " many of our generals have abused the de- 
votion of the troops in order to secure victory." " Possibly," he 
added, "the hard-hearted reprobates of the general staff are 
right when they say that even if the whole five hundred thou- 
sand men whom we have now in France were to be wiped out, 
that should merely be regarded as the loss of so many pawns, so 
long as we ultimately won the game. It is very simple strategy, 
however, to plunge in head foremost in that way without count- 
ing the cost. Altogether, those who conduct the operations are 
often not worth much — armchair strategists. A plan is pre- 
pared in which the whole calculation is based first of all upon 
the extraordinary qualities of both soldiers and regimental of- 
ficers. It is these who alone have achieved everything. Our 
success is due to the fact that our soldiers are physically stronger 
than the French, that they can march better, have more pa- 
tience and sense of duty, and are more impetuous in attack. If 
MacMahon had commanded Prussian soldiers and Alvensleben 
Frenchmen, the latter would have been defeated — although he 

VOL. I. — L 


is my friend." **It is no longer possible, as it was in the Seven 
Years' War, to direct a battle from the saddle — the armies are 
too large. There is also no genuine cooperation and mutual 
assistance. Battles begin usually like those described by Homer. 
Some of the men commence with small provocations, and go on 
taunting each other, then they begin to shoot ; the others see 
this and rush forward, and so finally the engagement becomes 
general." " The plan of surrounding the enemy is the right 
one, and properly speaking that was only adopted at Sedan. 
The engagement of the i6th at Metz was quite correct, as it 
was necessary there at any cost to prevent the French from 
escaping. The sacrifice of the guards on the i8th, however, was 
not necessary. It was a piece of pure folly, occasioned by 
jealousy of the Saxons. They ought to have waited at Saint 
Privat until the Saxons had completed their manoeuvre for 
cutting off the enemy." 

Keudell and Bohlen afterwards ascribed this unfavourable 
criticism to a quarrel which the Chief had had with Moltke at 

While still at table we had a specimen of the hospitality 
and gentlemanly feeling of the Baron, whose house is honoured 
by the presence of the King, and whose property has, in con- 
sequence, been treated with every consideration. M. de Roths- 
child, the hundredfold millionaire, who, moreover, was, until 
recently, the Prussian Consul General in Paris, has declined, 
through his housekeeper, to let us have the wine we require, 
although I informed that functionary that it would be paid for, 
just as everything else was. When summoned before the Chief, 
he had the audacity to persist in his refusal, first denying abso- 
lutely that there was any wine in the house, and afterwards 
admitting that there were a few hundred bottles of a common 
Bordeaux. As a matter of fact, there were some seventeen 
thousand bottles. The Minister, however, explained the situa- 
tion to him in a few sharp words, pointing out how niggardly 
and discourteous it was of his master to requite the King in 
such manner for the honour done to him in taking up his quar- 
ters there. As the fellow still seemed obstinate, the Chancellor 
asked him sternly if he knew what a bundle of straw was. The 
man made no answer, but seemed to suspect what it meant, as 
he became deadly pale. He was then informed that it was 




a contrivance on which obstinate and impudent housekeepers 
were laid face downwards — he could imagine the rest for 
himself. Next day we got everything that we required, and 
so far as I am aware, there was no further cause of complaint. 

Next morning the Chief came into the chambre de chasse of 
the chateau, which we occupied as our bureau. Turning over 
the game book which lay on the table he pointed out the entry 
for the 3rd of November, 1856, which showed that he himself, 
with Galiffet and other guests, had that day shot forty-two head 
of game — fourteen hares, one rabbit, and twenty-seven pheas- 
ants. He is now engaged with Moltke and others in chasing 
a nobler quarry — the bear to which he referred at Grand Pr6. 

At II o'clock the Chief had his third meeting with Favre, 
after which followed a conference with the King, at which 
Moltke and Roon were also present. 

In the evening I was called to the Chief, who had not 
appeared at table, and who, it was understood, did not feel 
quite well. A narrow stone winding stair, which was distin- 
guished with the title, " Escalier particulier de M. le Baron," 
led to a very elegantly furnished room, where I found the 
Chancellor sitting on the sofa in his dressing gown. 

Wednesday, September 21st. — As the Chief had recovered 
from his indisposition, we had plenty to do, and though most of 
it cannot be made public, I am now at liberty to quote the fol- 
lowing passage from my diary : — 

" The imperial emigrants in London have established an 
organ, La Situation, to represent their interests. Its contents 
are to be reproduced in the newspapers we have founded in the 
eastern districts of France, but the sources are to be so indi- 
cated as not to identify us with the views therein expressed : 
i.e., it must be understood that we are not endeavouring to pro- 
mote the restoration of the Emperor. Our object is merely to 
maintain the sense of insecurity and discord between the vari- 
ous French parties, which are all equally hostile to us. The 
retention of the imperial symbols and formulas in despatches 
will prove of service in this respect; otherwise Napoleon or 
a Republic is a matter of indifference to us. We merely de- 
sire to utilise the existing chaos in France. The future of 
that country does not concern us. It is the business of the 
French themselves to shape it as best they can. It is only of 

^^8 FAVRE SHEDS TEARS [Sept. 22 

importance to us in so far as it affects our own interests, the 
furtherance of which must be the guiding principle in politics 
generally." Under instructions from the Chief I telegraphed 
in the above sense to the principal officials at Nancy and 

At tea some further particulars were given of the last con- 
ference between the Chancellor and Jules Favre. Favre was, 
it seems, informed that we could not communicate to him the 
exact conditions of peace until they had been settled at a con- 
ference of the German Powers engaged in the war. No ar- 
rangement could be come to, however, without a cession of 
territory, as it was absolutely essential to us to have a better 
frontier as security against French attack. The conference 
turned less upon peace and its conditions than on the nature of 
French concessions, in consideration of which we might agree 
to an armistice. On the mention of a cession of territory Favre 
became terribly excited, drew a deep sigh, raised his eyes to 
heaven, and even shed some patriotic tears. The Chief does 
not expect that he will return. Doubtless an answer in this 
sense has been forwarded to the Crown Prince, who tele- 
graphed this morning to ask whether he should attend the 

Thursday, September 22nd, evening. — The French are inde- 
fatigable in denouncing us to the world as cruel and destructive 
barbarians ; and the English press — particularly the Standard, 
which is notoriously hostile to us — willingly lends them its 
assistance. The grossest calumnies respecting our conduct tow- 
ards the French population and the prisoners in our hands are 
circulated almost daily by that newspaper, and always purport 
to come either from eye-witnesses or other well-informed sources. 
Thus, for instance, the Due de Fitzjames recently drew a hor- 
rible picture of the abominations of which we had been guilty 
in Bazeilles, adding the assurance that he exaggerated nothing ; 
and a M. L., who represents himself to be a French officer 
whom we had captured at Sedan and subjected to ill-treatment, 
complains in a lamentable tone of Prussian inhumanity. Bern- 
storff sent the article in question to the Chief, with the sugges- 
tion that the charges should be refuted. The complaint of M. 
L. might, perhaps, be left to answer itself, but that of the Duke 
is calculated to affect even those across the Channel who are 


disposed in our favour. Besides, impudent calumny is always 
apt to leave some traces behind it. A refutal of these shameful 
slanders is accordingly being despatched to-day to certain Lon- 
don newspapers that are friendly to us. As the greater part of 
this communication was dictated by the Chief, it is worthy of 
special attention. 

" In this war, as in every other, a great number of villages 
have been burned down, mostly by artillery fire, German as 
well as French. In these cases women and children who had 
sought refuge in the cellars and had not escaped in time lost 
their lives in the flames. That was also the case in Bazeilles, 
which was several times stormed by our infantry. The Due 
de Fitzjames is only an eye-witness so far as the ruins of the 
village are concerned, which he saw after the battle, just as 
thousands more saw and regretted its fate. All the rest of his 
report is based on the stories of the unfortunate and exasper- 
ated villagers. In a country where even the Government has 
developed an unexampled talent for systematic lying, it is not 
to be expected that angry peasants, standing on the ruins of 
their homes, would bear truthful witness against their enemies. 
It is established by official reports that the inhabitants of 
Bazeilles, not in uniform but in their blouses and shirt-sleeves, 
fired out of their windows at our troops and wounded soldiers, 
and that they killed whole batches of the latter in their 
houses. It has been likewise proved that women armed with 
knives and guns were guilty of the greatest cruelty towards 
the fatally wounded, and that other women, certainly not in the 
uniform of the National Guards, took part in the fight with the 
male inhabitants, loading their rifles and even firing themselves, 
and that, like the other combatants, some of them were in these 
circumstances wounded or killed. Naturally these particulars 
were not communicated to the Due de Fitzjames by his in- 
formant. They would have fully excused the burning of the 
village even if it had been done intentionally with the object of 
forcing the enemy out of that position. But there is no evidence 
of any such intention. That women and children were driven 
back into the fire is one of those infamous lies with which the 
French terrorise the population, and incite their hatred against 
us. In this way they cause the peasants to fly on our approach. 
The latter return, however, as a rule, a few days after the 


entrance of the Germans, and are astounded to find that they 
are better treated by them than by the French troops. When 
this sort of terrorism is not sufficient to force the inhabitants 
to flight, the Government sends a mob of armed civiUans, some- 
times supported by African troops, to drive the peasants from 
their homes at the point of the sword, and to burn down their 
houses as a punishment for their want of patriotism. The 
letter of "an imprisoned officer" (Bouillon, September 9th) 
also contains more falsehood than truth. With respect to the 
treatment of the prisoners, Germany can call 150,000 better 
witnesses than this anonymous and mendacious officer, whose 
whole communication is merely an expression of the vindictive 
disposition which will for a long time to come inspire the vain 
and arrogant elements of the French people, by whom, un- 
fortunately, that country allows itself to be ruled and led. 
From this spirit of revenge arises the certainty of further 
attacks on the part of France, for which Germany must be pre- 
pared. We are thus unquestionably compelled to think solely 
of the security of our frontier in concluding peace. It is true, 
as stated in the letter of this imprisoned officer, M. L., that 
there was a scarcity of provisions after the surrender of Sedan, 
not only for the prisoners, but also for the victors, who shared 
with them what they had. When their own stock was ex- 
hausted, the prisoners also had to do without. L.'s complaint 
that he had been obliged to bivouac in the rain and mud fur- 
nishes the best evidence that he is no officer, and has not even 
followed the campaign up to that point. He is some hireling 
scribe who has never left his own room, and one must therefore 
assume that the man's whole story of his imprisonment is an 
invention; as had he been an officer in the field, he would 
have known that most of his comrades (that is certainly the 
case with the Germans) have spent at least thirty nights out 
of the forty or so that have elapsed since the beginning of the 
war, under similar conditions. When it rained in the night they 
had to lie in the rain, and when the ground was muddy they 
had to lie in the mud. Only one who had not followed the 
campaign could have any doubt or manifest any surprise on 
that score. That M. L. prides himself on having retained his 
leather purse is the clearest proof that he was not plundered. 
There can hardly be a single soldier who, if he happens to 


have money, does not carry it just as M. L. carried his, and in 
just such a purse; so that if our men had wanted his money, 
they must have known very well where to find it. The few 
Germans who fell into French hands can tell how quickly their 
opponents could open a prisoner's tunic, and if his purse was a 
little too firmly fastened on, hack it off with their sabres or a 
knife, without paying too much regard to his skin. We declare 
the assertions respecting the ill-treatment of prisoners at Sedan 
to be wilful and audacious lies. A great number of the French 
prisoners, perhaps one-fourth, were in a state of bestial drunk- 
enness, having during the last few hours before the capitulation 
plundered the wine and brandy stores in the town. It is obvi- 
ous that it is not so easy to manage men in a state of drunken- 
ness as when they are sober, but such ill-treatment as the article 
describes occurred neither at Sedan nor elsewhere, owing to the 
discipline which prevails amongst the Prussian troops. It is 
well known that this discipline has won the admiration of the 
French officers themselves. Unfortunately one cannot speak 
as highly of the French soldiers in this respect as with regard 
to their gallantry in action. The French officers have on sev- 
eral occasions been unable to prevent their men from murder- 
ing severely wounded soldiers, even when individual officers of 
high rank endeavoured at the risk of their own lives to defend 
the wounded, and that was not merely the case with African 
regiments. It is known that the German prisoners who were 
taken into Metz were spat upon and struck with sticks and 
stones on their way through the streets, and on their release 
had to run the gauntlet of a double line of African soldiers, 
who beat them with canes and whips. We can prove these 
facts by official records, which have more claim to credence 
than the anonymous letter of M. L. But are such things to be 
wondered at when the newspapers of a city like Paris, which 
now implores considerate treatment on the hypocritical plea of 
civilisation, can propose, without eliciting the slightest protest, 
that when the French troops are unable to take our wounded 
with them they should split their heads open ; and further, that 
the Germans should be used like dead wolves to manure their 
fields ? The utter barbarism of the French nation, covered 
with a thin veneer of culture, has been fully disclosed in this 
war. French insolence formerly said, 'Grattez le Russe et 


vous trouverez le barbare.' Whoever is in a position to com- 
pare the conduct of the Russians towards their enemies in the 
Crimean War, with that of the French in the present campaign, 
can have no doubt that this statement recoils upon its authors." 

When he had finished, the Minister added : — *' Write to 
Bernstorff that I decline in future to notice any suggestion for 
entering into a controversy with English newspapers. The 
Ambassador must act on his own responsibility." 

Just as we sat down to table, one of the Court officials 
announced that the Crown Prince proposed to come to dinner 
and to stay for the night. The Prince's secretary at the time 
asked that the bureau and the large salon next the Chancellor's 
room should be prepared for the five gentlemen who accom- 
panied his Royal Highness. The Chief replied, " We cannot 
give up the bureau, as we want it for our work." He then 
placed his dressing-room at their disposal, and further proposed 
that either Blumenthal or Eulenburg should sleep in his bed- 
room. He required the salon for the reception of the French 
negotiators and any Princes who might call upon him. The 
Court official went off, pulling a long face, and was impertinent 
enough to make some remarks in the corridor about "dis- 
courtesy " and so forth. 

Count Lehndorff dined with us, and the conversation was 
very lively. Some allusion having been made to Frederick the 
Great's statue in Unter den Linden, which had been decorated 
with black, red, and yellow flags, the Minister condemned 
Wurmb for allowing this controversy to be stirred up. " Thij 
stupid quarrel about the colours should not have been reopened, 
and it once more proves Wurmb's incapacity. For me the 
question is settled and done with since the North German flag 
has been adopted. Otherwise this battle of colours is a matter 
of indifference to me. As far as I am concerned they may be 
green, yellow, and all the colours of a fancy dress ball, or they 
can take the banner of Mecklenburg- Strelitz. Only the Prus- 
sian soldier will have nothing to do with the black, red, and 

The Chief then spoke of the peace, which he still considered 
remote, adding : — "If they (the French Government) go to 
Orleans, we shall follow them there, and further — right down 
to the seashore." He read out some telegrams, including one 


giving a list of the troops in Paris. ** There are supposed to be 
180,000 men in all, but there are hardly 60,000 real soldiers 
amongst them. The mobile and national guards with their 
snuff-boxes (a reference to their obsolete weapons) are not to 
be reckoned as soldiers." 

I asked if I should telegraph about the report of artillery 
and rifle fire in the streets of Paris, which people fancied they 
had heard. He said I was to do so. " But not yet, I suppose, 
about the negotiations with Favre ? " " Yes," he replied, and 
then went on as follows : — " First at Haute-Maison, near 
Montry, then the same evening at Ferri^res, and next day a 
third conversation, but without effect, as regards the armistice 
and the peace. Other French parties have also entered into 
negotiations with us," he said, and gave some indications from 
which I gathered that he referred to the Empress Eug6nie. 

Something else led him to speak of his skill in shooting. 
He said that as a young man he could hit a sheet of paper with 
a pistol at a hundred yards, and had shot off the heads of ducks 
in the pond. 

He then mentioned that he had again complained to Tre- 
skow of the " short commons at the Royal table," at which 
Treskow pulled a long face. ** But if I am to work well I must 
have sufficient food. I cannot make a proper peace if I do not 
get enough to eat and drink. That's a necessity of my trade, 
and therefore I prefer to dine at home." 

The conversation then turned on the dead languages — I 
cannot now say how. "When I was in the first class at the 
high school," he said, " I was able to write and speak Latin 
very well. I should now find it extremely difficult ; and I have 
quite forgotten Greek. I cannot understand why people take 
so much trouble with these languages. It must be merely be- 
cause learned men do not wish to lessen the value of what they 
have themselves so laboriously acquired." I ventured to remind 
him of the mental discipline thus provided. The Chief replied, 
" Yes ; but if you think Greek is a disciplina mentis^ the Rus- 
sian language is far better in that respect. It might be intro- 
duced instead of Greek — and it has immediate practical value 
in addition." 

We then spoke of the way in which the Schleswig-Holstein 
question was treated by the Bundestag in the fifties. Count 


Bismarck-Bohlen, who had come in in the meantime, remarked 
that those debates must have been dull enough to send every 
one to sleep. " Yes," said the Chief, " in Frankfort they slept 
over the negotiations with their eyes open. Altogether it was 
a sleepy and insipid crowd, and things only became endurable 
after I had added the pepper." He then told us a dehghtful 
story about Count Rechberg, who was at that time Austrian 
Minister to the Bundestag. "On one occasion he said some- 
thing to me which I was obliged to answer very roughly. He 
replied that unless I withdrew my words it would be a case 
of going out on to the Bockenheimer Haide (a place where it 
was customary to settle affairs of honour). ' I never withdraw 
my words,' said I, carelessly, ' so we must settle it in that way, 
and it occurs to me that the garden down stairs would be a 
very suitable place. But in order that people may not think 
that I represent my King pistol in hand, without further cere- 
mony I shall write down here the cause of our quarrel. After 
you have read it over you will sign it, and thus testify to its 
correctness. In the meantime there is one of our officers lodg- 
ing here who will oblige me, and you can choose one of your 
own officers.' I rang the bell and sent word to the officer, 
requesting him to call upon me ; and then went on writing 
while Rechberg strode up and down the room — and gluck, 
gluck, gluck (here the Minister mimicked the act of drinking) 
he swallowed one glass of water after another. Of course not 
because he was afraid, but because he was considering whether 
he ought not first to ask permission of his Government. I 
quietly continued to write. The officer came and said be 
would gladly oblige me. I begged him to wait a moment. On 
my return Rechberg said he would think over the matter until 
morning, to which I agreed. As I did not hear from him next 
day, however, I sent the Mecklenburg Minister, old Oertzen, to 
deliver a formal challenge. Oertzen was told he was not at 
home. He went again next day, but Rechberg was still not 
to be seen. He had evidently written to Vienna and was wait- 
ing for an answer. At length Oertzen came to me after having 
spoken to him. Rechberg was prepared to withdraw what he 
had said and offer an apology, either in writing or verbally, 
just as I liked. He would also come to me if I wished. I 
went to his place, however, and the affair was settled." 


I asked him then about the celebrated story of the cigars. 
"Which do you mean?" "Why, about the cigar which you 
lit, Excellency, when Rechberg was smoking in your presence." 
"Thun, you mean. Yes, that was very simple. I went to him 
while he was at work, and he was smoking. He begged me 
to excuse him for a moment. I waited a while and finding it 
rather slow, as he did not offer me a cigar, I took one of my own 
and asked him for a light — which he gave me with rather a 
surprised look. But I have another story of the same kind. 
At the sittings of the Military Commission, when Rochow rep- 
resented Prussia at the Bundestag, Austria was the only one 
who smoked. Rochow, who was passionately addicted to smok- 
ing, would gladly have done the same, but had not sufficient 
confidence. When I came I also felt a longing for a cigar, and 
as I could not see why I should deny myself I begged the pre- 
siding power to give me a light, apparently much to his and 
the other gentlemen's astonishment and displeasure. It was 
evidently an event for them all. For the time being only 
Austria and Prussia smoked. But the remaining gentlemen 
obviously considered the matter of so much importance that 
they wrote home for instructions as to how they were to act 
in the circumstances. The authorities were in no hurry. The 
affair was one that demanded careful consideration, and for 
nearly six months the two great powers smoked alone. Then 
Schrenkh, the Bavarian Minister, began to assert the dignity 
of his office by lighting his weed. Nostitz, the Saxon, had cer- 
tainly a great desire to do the same, but had probably not yet 
received the permission of his Minister. On seeing Bothmer, 
of Hanover, however, allow himself that liberty, Nostitz, who 
was strongly Austrian in his sympathies, having sons in the 
Austrian army, must have come to an understanding with Rech- 
berg, with the result that he too at the next sitting pulled out 
his cigar case and puffed away with the rest. Only the repre- 
sentatives of Wiirtemberg and Darmstadt now remained, and 
they were non-smokers. The honour and dignity of their 
States, however, imperiously demanded that they should follow 
suit, and so as a matter of fact the Wiirtemberger pulled out 
a cigar at the next sitting — I can still see it in my mind's 
eye, a long, thin, yellow thing of the colour of rye straw — 
and smoked at least half of it as a burnt-offering on the altar 


of patriotism. Hesse-Darmstadt was the only one who finally 
refrained — probably conscious that he was not strong enough 
to enter into rivalry with the others." ^ 

Friday, September 2ird. — Beautiful weather this morning. 
I took a walk in the park before the Chief got up. On my re- 
turn I met Keudell, who called out " War ! A letter from Favre 
rejecting our demands. The Chief has given instructions to 
communicate the letter to the press with certain comments, 
hinting that the present occupant of Wilhelmshohe is after all 
not so bad and might be of use to us." 

The conversation afterwards turned on Pomeranian affairs, 
and the Chief spoke amongst other things of the great estate 
of Schmoldin. The former proprietor had become bankrupt 
through treating the people on the estate — mostly Slav fisher- 
men and sailors — with too much consideration. The place, 
which consisted of about 8000 acres of arable land, and 12,000 
to 16,000 acres of forest and downs, worth at least 200,000 
thalers, was purchased by the Royal Treasury for 80,000 
thalers. The change of proprietors had not benefited the 
tenants, as there was no question of forbearance or abatements. 
Many of them have fallen into a state of pauperism, and instead 
of being provided for by the Royal Treasury, they have become 
a burden on the local authorities. That is not as it ought to 
be. It was believed that Obstfelder was to blame for this hard 
and unfair treatment. 

Saturday, September 2^th. — The Minister spoke at dinner 
about the ostentatious decorations of the great hall of the 
chateau, which he had now seen for the first time. Amongst 
other things it contains a throne or table which some French 
marshal or general inadvertently packed up with his baggage 
somewhere in China, or Cochin China, and afterwards sold to 
our Baron. The Chief's verdict was : — "All extremely costly, 
but not particularly beautiful, and still less comfortable." He 
then continued : — ** A ready-made property like this would not 
give me any genuine satisfaction. It was made by others and 
not by myself. True, there are many things in it really beauti- 
ful, but one misses the pleasure of creating and altering. It is 

^The Wurtemberger was Von Reinhard, and the Darmstadter Von Munch-Belling- 
hausen, both determined opponents of Prussia. 


also quite a different thing when I have to ask myself if I can 
afford to spend five or ten thousand thalers on this or that 
improvement, and when there is no need to think about the 
cost. In the end it must become tiresome to have always 
enough and more than enough." 

In an article written this evening we returned to our good 
friends the French ultramontanes, who are as active in war as 
they had been in peace in opposing the German cause, inciting 
people against us, circulating lies about us in the newspapers, 
and even leading the peasants to take up arms against our 
troops as at Beaumont and Bazeilles. 

Sunday y September 2^tk. — At table we somehow came to 
discuss the Jews. " They have no real home," said the Chief. 
" They are international — Europeans, cosmopolitans, nomads. 
Their fatherland is Zion, Jerusalem. Otherwise they are citi- 
zens of the whole world, and hold together everywhere. There 
are amongst them some good, honest people, as for instance 
one at our own place in Pomerania, who traded in hides and 
such things. Business cannot have prospered with him, as he 
became bankrupt. He begged of me not to press my claim, 
and promised that he would pay by instalments, when he could. 
Yielding to my old habit, I agreed, and he actually paid off the 
debt. I received instalments from him while I was still in 
Frankfort as Minister to the Bundestag, and I believe that if I 
lost anything at all, I must have lost less than his other cred- 
itors. Certainly not many such Jews are to be met with in our 
large towns. They have also their own special virtues. They 
are credited with respect for their parents, faithfulness in mar- 
riage, and benevolence." 

Monday y September 26th. — In the morning wrote various 
paragraphs for the press on the following theme : — It is urged 
that we cannot be allowed to bombard Paris, with its numerous 
museums, beautiful public buildings and monuments ; that to 
do so would be a crime against civilisation. But why not.? 
Paris is a fortress, and if it has been filled with treasures of art, 
if it possesses magnificent palaces and other beautiful structures, 
that does not alter this character. A fortress is an instrument 
for warlike operations which must be rendered powerless with- 
out regard to whatever else may be bound up with it. If the 
French wanted to preserve their monuments and collections of 


books and pictures from the dangers of war, they should not 
have surrounded them with fortifications. Besides, the French 
themselves did not hesitate for a moment to bombard Rome, 
which contained monuments of far greater value, the destruc- 
tion of which would be an irretrievable loss. Also sent off an 
article on the bellicose tendencies of the French radicals pre- 
vious to the declaration of war, for use in our newspapers in 

At dinner, as we were discussing military matters, the Chief 
declared, inter alia, that the Uhlans were the best cavalry. 
The lance gave the men great self-confidence. It was urged 
that it was a hindrance in getting through underwood, but that 
was a mistake. On the contrary, the lance was useful in mov- 
ing aside the branches. He knew that from experience, as, 
although he first served in the rifles, he was afterwards in the 
Landwehr cavalry. The abolition of the lance in the entire 
mounted Landwehr was a blunder. The curved sabre was not 
much use, particularly as it was often blunt. The straight 
thrusting sword was much more practical. 

After dinner a letter was received from Favre, in which he 
requested, first, that notice should be given of the commence- 
ment of the bombardment of Paris, in order that the diplomatic 
corps might remove ; and, second, that the city should be per- 
mitted to remain in communication with the outer world by 
letter. Abeken said, as he brought the letter down from the 
Chief's room, that the answer would be sent by way of Brussels. 
" But then the letter will arrive late or not at all, and be re- 
turned to us," observed Keudell. "Well, that does not matter," 
answered Abeken. From the further conversation it appears 
that the answer agrees to the French proposals under certain 

In the evening I was again called to the Chief on several 
occasions to take instructions. Amongst other things, I ascer- 
tained that, "While Favre's report respecting his interviews 
with the Chancellor shows, it is true, a desire to give a faithful 
account of what passed, it is not quite accurate, which is not 
surprising in the circumstances, especially as there were three 
different meetings." In his statement the question of an armis- 
tice occupies a secondary position, whereas, in fact, it was the 
chief point. Favre was prepared to pay a considerable cash 


indemnity. In the matter of a truce two alternatives were dis- 
cussed. First, the surrender to us of a portion of the fortifi- 
cations of Paris, namely, at a point which would give us the 
command of the city, we on our part to allow free communica- 
tion with the outer world. The second was that we should 
forego that condition, but that Strasburg and Toul should be 
surrendered to us. We put forward the latter demand because 
the retention of these towns in the hands of the French in- 
creases our difficulties of commissariat transport. The Chan- 
cellor stated that with respect to a cession of territory, he could 
only disclose its extent and frontiers when our demand had 
been accepted in principle. On Favre requesting to have at 
least an indication of what we proposed in this respect, he was 
informed that for our security in the future we required Stras- 
burg, "the key of our house," the departments of the upper 
and lower Rhine, Metz, and a portion of the Moselle depart- 
ment. The object of the armistice was to submit the question 
of peace to a National Assembly to be summoned for the 

Again called to the Chief. " The King wishes to see some 
of the newspapers, and he desires to have the most important 
passages marked. I have proposed Brass to him, and when 
the papers come, put that one (the Norddeiitsche Allgemeine 
Zeitung) always aside for him." He added, smiling, " Just 
mark some places for the sake of appearances, it does not much 
matter what, and send me up the paper." 

At tea we hear a great piece of news : — the Italians have 
occupied Rome, the Pope and the diplomatists remaining in the 

Tuesday, September 2'jth. — Bolsing, on the Chief's instruc- 
tions, shows me the answer to Favre's letter, which the Minister 
has re-written in a shorter and more positive form. It says : 
I. — It is not usual in war to announce the commencement of 
an attack ; 2. — A besieged fortress does not appear to be a 
suitable residence for diplomatists ; open letters containing 
nothing objectionable will be allowed to pass. It is hoped that 
the corps diplomatique will agree with this view of the matter. 
They can go to Tours, whither it would appear the French Gov- 
ernment also intends to remove. The answer is written in Ger- 
man, a course already begun by Bernstorff, but which was 

l60 FAVRE'S TEARS [Sept. 27 

carried out more consistently by Bismarck. " Formerly," said 
Bolsing, "most of the Secretaries in the Foreign Office be- 
longed to the French colony, of which Roland and Delacroix 
still remain. Almost all the Councillors also wrote in that 
language. Even the register of the despatches was kept in 
French, and the Ambassadors usually reported in that lan- 
guage." Now the speech of the " vile Gaul," as Count Bohlen 
calls the French, is only used in exceptional cases, that is, in 
communicating with Governments and Ambassadors to whom 
we cannot write or reply in their mother tongue. The registers 
have for years past been kept in German. 

The Chief has been at work since 8 o'clock in the morning 
— unusually early for him. He has again been unable to 

Prince Radziwill and Knobelsdorff, of the General Staff, 
joined us at dinner. In speaking of that part of Favre's report 
in which he says that he wept, the Minister thinks that he can 
only have pretended to do so. "It is true," he said, "that he 
looked as if he had done so, and I tried to some extent to con- 
sole him. On my observing him more closely, however, I felt 
quite certain that he had not succeeded in squeezing out a single 
tear. It was all merely a piece of acting on his part. He 
thought to work upon me in the same manner as a Parisian 
lawyer tries to move a jury. I am perfectly convinced that he 
was painted at Ferri^res — particularly at the second interview. 
That morning he looked much greyer and quite green under the 
eyes — I am prepared to bet that it was paint — grey and green, 
to give himself an appearance of deep suffering. It is, of 
course, possible that he was deeply affected ; but then he can 
be no politician or he would know that pity has nothing to do 
with politics." After a while the Minister added : — " When I 
hinted something about Strasburg and Metz, he assumed a look 
as if he thought I was jesting. I could have given him the 
answer which the great fur dealer of Unter den Linden in Ber- 
lin once gave me. I went there to choose a fur coat, and on his 
naming a very high price for one to which I had taken a fancy, 
I said, * Surely you are joking.' * No,' he replied, * I never 
make jokes in business.' " 

The conversation then turned upon the occupation of Rome 
and the Pope's position in the Vatican, on which point the Chief 


said, amongst other things : " He must remain a Sovereign. 
The only question is, how ? It would be possible to do more 
for him if the ultramontanes were not so much opposed to us 
everywhere. I am accustomed to pay people back in their own 
coin. I should like to know how our Harry (von Arnim, the 
North German Ambassador to the Holy See) now feels. Prob- 
ably, like his reports, his feelings change three times within the 
twenty-four hours. He is really too distinguished an Ambas- 
sador for such a small sovereign. The Pope, however, is not 
merely the ruler of the Papal States, he is also the head of the 
Catholic Church." 

After dinner, just as we had finished our coffee, the Ameri- 
can General Burnside, who had called whilst we were at table, 
presented himself again, accompanied by an elderly gentleman 
who wore a red woollen shirt and a paper collar. The General, 
a rather tall, portly gentleman, with thick, bushy eyebrows, and 
an exceptionally fine set of beautifully white teeth and close-cut, 
mutton-chop whiskers, might pass for an elderly Prussian major 
in plain clothes. The Chief sat with him on the sofa, and 
had a lively conversation in English over a couple of glasses 
of kirschwasser, which were afterwards replenished. Prince 
Radziwill, in the meantime, had a talk with the General's com- 

After the Minister had observed to his visitor that he had 
come rather late to see the fighting, he went on to say that in 
July we had not the least desire for war, and that when we 
were surprised by the declaration of hostilities, no one, neither 
the King nor the people, had thought of any conquests. Our 
army was an excellent one for a war of defence, but it would 
be difficult to use it for schemes of aggrandisement, because 
with us the army was the people itself, which did not lust after 
glory, as it required and wished for peace. But for that very 
reason both popular sentiment and the press now demanded 
a better frontier. For the sake of the maintenance of peace 
we must secure ourselves in future against attack from a vain- 
glorious and covetous nation, and that security could only be 
found in a better defensive position than we had hitherto had. 
Burnside seemed inclined to agree, and he praised very highly 
our excellent organisation and the gallantry of our troops. 

Wednesday, September 2^th. — The general conversation at 

VOL. I. — M 


dinner gradually adopted a more serious tone. The Chancellor 
began by complaining that Voigts-Rhetz in his report had not 
said a single word about the gallant charge of the two regiments 
of Dragoon Guards at Mars la Tour, which nevertheless he 
himself had ordered, and which had saved the loth Army Corps. 
"It was necessary — I grant that; but then it ought not to 
have been passed over in silence." 

The Minister then began a lengthy speech, which ultimately 
assumed the character of a dialogue between himself and Katt. 
Pointing to a spot of grease on the tablecloth, the Chief re- 
marked : — " Just in the same way as that spot spreads and 
spreads, so the feeling that it is beautiful to die for one's coun- 
try and honour, even without recognition, sinks deeper into the 
skin of the people now that it has been bathed in blood — it 
spreads wider and wider. . . . Yes, yes, the non-commissioned 
officer has the same views and the same sense of duty as the 
lieutenant and the colonel — with us Germans. That feeling 
in general goes very deep through all classes of the nation. . . . 
The French are a mass that can easily be brought under one 
influence, and then they produce a great effect. Amongst our 
people everybody has his own opinion. But when once a large 
number of Germans come to hold the same opinion, great things 
can be done with them. If they were all agreed they would 
be all-powerful. . . . The French have not that sense of duty 
which enables a man to allow himself to be shot dead alone in 
the dark. And that comes from the remnant of faith which 
still abides in our people; it comes from the knowledge that 
there is Some One there Who sees me even if my lieutenant 
does not see me." 

"Do you beHeve that the soldiers reflect on such things, 
Excellency.?" asked Fiirstenstein. 

" ' Reflect ' ? no. It is a feeling — a frame of mind ; — an in- 
stinct, if you like. When once they reflect they lose that feel- 
ing; they argue themselves out of it. . . . I cannot conceive 
how men can live together in an orderly manner, how one can 
do his duty and allow others to do theirs, without faith in a re- 
vealed religion, in God, Who wills what is right, in a higher 
judge and a future life." 

The Grand Duke of Weimar was announced. But the 
Minister continued, it might well be for a quarter of an hour 


longer, at times suddenly departing from his proper theme, and 
frequently repeating the same idea in other words : "If I were 
no longer a Christian I would not serve the King another hour. 
" If I did not put my trust in God I should certainly place 
none in any earthly masters. Why, I had quite enough to live 
on, and had a sufficiently distinguished position. Why should 
I labour and toil unceasingly in this world, and expose myself 
to worry and vexation if I did not feel that I must do my duty 
towards God.?^ If I did not believe in a Divine Providence 
which has ordained this German nation to something good and 
great, I would at once give up my trade as a Statesman or I 
should never have gone into the business. Orders and titles 
have no attraction for me. A resolute faith in a life after 
death — for that reason I am a royalist; otherwise I am by 
nature a republican. Yes, I am a republican in the highest 
degree ; and the firm determination which I have displayed for 
ten long years in presence of all possible forms of absurdity at 
Court is solely due to my resolute faith. Deprive me of this 
faith and you deprive me of my fatherland. If I were not a 
firm believer in Christianity, if I had not the wonderful basis of 
religion, you would never have had such a Chancellor of the 
Confederation. If I had not the wonderful basis of religion I 
should have turned my back to the whole Court — and if you 
are able to find me a successor who has that basis I will retire 
at once. But I am living amongst heathens. I do not want to 
make any proselytes, but I feel a necessity to confess this faith." 

1 Compare this passage with the speech delivered by Bismarck in the United 
Diet on the 15th of June, 1847. O" ^^^^ occasion he said : " I am of opinion that the 
conception of the Christian state is as old as the so-called Holy Roman Empire, as old 
as all the European States, and that it is exactly the ground in which those States have 
struck deep roots; and further, that each State that wishes to secure its own perma- 
nence, or even if it merely desires to prove its right to existence, must act upon re- 
ligious principles. The words * By the grace of God/ which Christian rulers add to 
their names, are for me no mere empty sound. On the contrary, I recognise in them 
the confession that Princes desire to wield the sceptre with which God has invested 
them in accordance with His Will." Certain remarks made by the Chancellor in his 
speech of the 9th of October, 1878, during the debate on the Anti-Socialist Bill, should 
also be remembered in this connection. He said, inter alia : " If I had come to be- 
lieve as these men (the social democrats) do — yes, I live a full and busy life and am 
in opulent circumstances — but that would not be sufficient to make me wish to live 
another day if I had not, in the words of the poet, ' an Gott und bessere Zukunft 
Glauben' (faith in God and a better future)." 


Katt said that the ancients had also shown much self-sacri- 
fice and devotion. They also had the love of country, which 
had spurred them on to great deeds. He was convinced that 
many people nowadays acted in the same way through devotion 
to the State, and a sense of duty to society. 

The Chief replied that this self-sacrifice and devotion to duty 
towards the State and the King amongst us was merely a rem- 
nant of the faith of our fathers and grandfathers in an altered 
form, — "more confused, and yet active, no longer faith, but 
nevertheless faithful." " How willingly would I go away ! I 
enjoy country life, the woods and nature. Sever my connection 
with God aad I am a man who would pack up to-morrow and be 

off to Varzin, and say * Kiss my ,' and cultivate his oats. 

You would then deprive me of my King, because why, if there 
is no Divine commandment, why should I subordinate myself 
to these HohenzoUerns ? They are a Suabian family, no better 
than my own, and in that case no concern of mine. Why, I 
should be worse than Jacoby, who might then be accepted as 
President or even as King. He would be in many ways more 
sensible, and at all events cheaper." 

Keudell told me this evening that the Chief had already, 
while standing outside the chateau, several times expressed him- 
self in a similar manner. 

After dinner the Chancellor received in his own salon the 
Grand Duke of Weimar, as also Reynier, and subsequently 
Burnside and his companion of the day before. 

Thursday^ September 2gth. — In the morning wrote articles 
on the folly of certain German newspapers that warned us 
against laying claim to Metz and the surrounding district be- 
cause the inhabitants spoke French, and on Ducrot's unpardon- 
able escape during the transport of prisoners to Germany. The 
second article was also sent to England. 

The newspapers contain a report on the prevailing public 
sentiment in Bavaria, which evidently comes from a thoroughly 
reliable and highly competent source.^ We are accordingly to 
note the principal points contained therein. The news given in 
the report is for the most part satisfactory — in some particulars 

1 It was a report from Mohl, originally intended for his Government at Carlsruhe, 
which was communicated to the Chief, under whose instructions extracts therefrom 
were utilised in the press. 


only is it possible to wish it were better. The idea of German 
unity has evidently been strengthened and extended by the war, 
but the specific Bavarian amour propre has also increased. The 
part taken by the army in the victories of the German forces at 
Worth and Sedan, as well as the severe losses which it has suf- 
fered, has not failed to excite enthusiasm throughout all classes 
of the population, and to fill them with pride at the achievements 
of their countrymen. They are convinced that their King sin- 
cerely desires the victory of the German arms, and has used 
every effort to secure that end. His immediate entourage is 
well disposed. That cannot, however, be said of all his Ministers. 
The Minister of War is without doubt sincerely anxious, and is 
doing his utmost to see the campaign brought to a satisfactory 
conclusion. He is in that respect thoroughly reliable, and he 
will no doubt be found on the right side in the matter of the 
conditions of peace. Count Bray, on the other hand, is and 
remains ultramontane and Austrian in his views. In his heart 
of hearts he is opposed to the war, and for him our successes 
have been too rapid, and our victories too complete. He would 
like to see the neutral Powers take steps to restrain us, and if he 
could he would support such measures. 

No conclusion is to be drawn from the very confident tone of 
the press as to an eventual rearrangement of German relations, 
which, through the brotherhood in arms during the war, might 
develop into a permanent and closer union also in times of peace. 
As a matter of course Bray would be opposed to the entrance 
of Bavaria into the North German Confederation. But there 
are also other influential personages who do not contemplate 
such a course, or who regard the effective cooperation of the 
Bavarians in the German victories less as a means to promote 
the closer union of Germany than as a proof of the power of 
Bavaria and an assertion of her independence. The non-ultra- 
montane particularists take up a somewhat similar position. 
They are pleased at our victories and proud of Bavaria's share 
in them. They admire the manner in which the Prussians con- 
duct the war, and, like us, they desire to secure Germany against 
future attack from the West. But they will not hear of Bavaria 
joining the North German Confederation. The partition of the 
conquered French territory is also much discussed in such 
circles. They would like to see Alsace annexed to Baden on 


condition that the Baden Palatinate were ceded to Bavaria. 
The more penetrating minds amongst them are forced to reckon 
with the probabiHty that Baden, and in all likelihood also Wiir- 
temberg, will after the peace demand admission into the Federal 
State already formed by the North. The ultramontanes remain 
what they always were, although they are now silent through 
fear. Fortunately they have lost all confidence in Austria, so 
that they lack support, while, on the other hand, the Bavarians, 
who are now in the field, have an entirely different opinion of 
the Prussians to that which they entertained before the war. 
They are full of the highest praise for their northern comrades, 
and not merely for their military qualities and achievements, 
but also for their readiness to help the Bavarians when they 
have earlier or better supplies than the latter. More than one 
of them has written home that their priests have maligned the 
Prussians. It is not true that they are all Lutherans. Many of 
them are Catholics, and they had even seen some Catholic 
military chaplains with them. As the officers share these feel- 
ings the army on its return will carry on an effective propaganda 
against ultramontanism, and probably also against extreme par- 
ticularism. It will be easily understood that men of national 
sentiment in Bavaria should feel more confident than ever. 
They will also do what they can for the cause. But they are a 
minority in the Lower Chamber, and in the Upper House they 
have scarcely two or three representatives. 

At dinner the conversation turned on the Grand Duke of 
Weimar and such matters. The Minister said that the Grand 
Duke had been to see him the evening before, and wished to 
obtain some information which he (the Chief) was unable to 
give him. " He thinks that I am also his Chancellor. On my 
politely declining, he said he must then apply to the King. 
' Yes,' I replied, ' but in that case his Majesty will have to refer 
in the first place to his Minister.' * And the Minister } ' (Here 
the Chief bent his head a little to one side and smiled sweetly.) 
*He will maintain an impenetrable silence.*" 

The Chancellor then said that he had been asked what was 
to be done with the Gardes Mobiles captured at Strasburg. 
They were disposed to set them at liberty and let them go 
home. " God forbid," said I ; "send them to Upper Silesia." 

Friday, September ^oth. — Received another letter from 


Bamberger, who is in Baden-Baden. He continues to use his 
talents and influence in the press to advance the Chancellor's 
views. In my answer I begged him to counteract the ill- 
considered arguments of certain German journalists who now, 
while we are still at war, and have hardly done the heaviest 
part of our task, are already strongly urging moderation. The 
worst of these is Dr. Kruse, of the Kolnische Zeitung^ with 
whom the idea that Metz must not be annexed because the 
inhabitants speak French has become almost a monomania. 
These gentlemen offer their advice as to how far we can or 
may go in our demands, and plead in favour of France, while 
they would do much better to insist upon still heavier demands, 
*'in order," as the Minister said in complaining of this being 
" preposterous " behaviour, " that we may at least get some- 
thing decent, if not all that we ask for. They will compel me 
in the end to claim the Meuse as our frontier. Write also to 
Bamberger that I had credited him with more political acumen 
than to imagine that we really want to replace Napoleon on the 
French throne." 

Sunday, October 2nd. — At tea-time, to a refnark that the 
poorer classes suffered comparatively more than the upper and 
wealthier, the Chief replied that this reminded him of Sheri- 
dan's observatioK at Reims, for it was perhaps after all as well 
it should be so, as there were more poor people than well-to-do, 
and we must always keep in mind the object of the war, which 
was to secure an advantageous peace. The more Frenchmen 
suffered from the war the greater would be the number of those 
who would long for peace, whatever our conditions might be. 
" And their treacherous franctireurs," he continued, " who now 
stand in blouses with their hands in their pockets, and in the 
next moment when our soldiers have passed by take their rifles 
out of the ditch and fire at them. It will come to this, that we 
will shoot down every male inhabitant. Really that would be 
no worse than in battle, where they fire at a distance of 2000 
yards, and cannot recognise each other's faces." 

The conversation then turned on Russia, on the communistic 
measure of dividing the land between the village communities, 
on the minor nobility, " who had invested their savings in the 
purchase of peasants, out of whom they squeezed their interest 
in the form of Obrok," and of the incredible wealth of many of 

1 58 THE YUSSUPOFFS [Oct. 4 

the old Boyar families. The Chief mentioned several examples, 
and gave a full account of the Yussupoffs, whose fortune, 
although nearly half of it had been several times confiscated on 
account of their complicity in conspiracies, was still much larger 
than that of most German Princes. It was so great that " two 
serfs, father and son, who had acted in succession as managers 
of the estate, were able to bleed it of three millions without the 
loss being felt." " The palace of these princes in St. Petersburg 
contained a large theatre in the style of the Weisser Saal in the 
palace at Berlin, and had magnificent rooms in which 300 to 400 
persons could dine with comfort. Forty years ago the old 
Yussupoff kept open table daily. A poor old officer on the 
retired list had dined there almost every day for years, although 
no one knew who he was. The name and rank of their con- 
stant guest was only discovered on inquiries being made of the 
police when on one occasion he had remained away for a con- 
siderable time." 

Monday, October '^rd. — We were joined at table by the 
Grand Chamberlain, Perponcher, and a Herr von Thadden, who 
was to be appointed a member of the Administration at Reims. 
The Chief told several anecdotes of the old Rothschild of 
Frankfort. He had on one occasion heard Rothschild talking 
to a corn-dealer who wanted to buy some wheat. The latter 
said that such a rich man ought not to put the price of wheat 
so high. "What have my riches got to do with it.?" replied the 
old gentleman. " Is my wheat any the worse because I am 
rich.? " " He gave dinners, however, which did all honour to his 
wealth. I remember once when the present King, then Prince 
of Prussia, was in Frankfort and I invited him to dinner. 
Rothschild had also intended to invite him. The Prince told 
him, however, that he must settle that with me, otherwise he 
would be quite as pleased to dine with him as with me. Roths- 
child then wanted me to give up his Royal Highness to him. I 
refused, whereupon he had the naivete to propose that his din- 
ner should be brought to my house, as of course he did not 
partake of it himself — he only ate meat prepared in Jewish 
fashion. Naturally I also declined this proposal, although there 
can be no doubt that his dinner would have been better than 
mine." The Chief was once told by old Metternich, — " who, 
by the way, was very well disposed towards me," — that at one 


time when he had lodged with Rothschild, on his way to 
Johannisberg (Metternich's estate), his host had put six bottles 
of Johannisberg wine into his lunch basket for the road. These 
were taken out unopened on Metternich's arrival at Johannis- 
berg, where the Prince asked his chief cellarer what they cost 
per bottle. " Twelve florins," was the answer. " Well, then," 
said Metternich, " send these six bottles back to Baron Roths- 
child when he gives his next order, but charge him fifteen 
florins apiece for them then, as they will have grown older by 
that time." 

Tuesday, October A^th. — In the forenoon again called to the 
Chief Bucher, Councillor of Embassy; and Wiehr, a deci- 
pherer, arrived after lunch. Bucher appears to have been sum- 
moned here in order to replace Abeken, who has been ill and 
ought to have gone home, but who has now nearly recovered. 
No one could have filled his place better than Bucher, who is 
unquestionably the best informed, most intelligent and unpre- 
judiced of all the principal workers by whom the Chief is 
surrounded and who help to propagate his ideas. In the 
evening the Chancellor talked about Moltke, remarking how 
gallantly he had attacked the punch bowl on a recent occasion, 
and in what excellent spirits he was. ** I have not seen him 
looking so well for a long time past. That is the result of the 
war. It is his trade. I remember, when the Spanish question 
became acute, he looked ten years younger. Afterwards, 
when I told him that the HohenzoUern had withdrawn, he 
suddenly looked quite old and infirm. And when the French 
showed their teeth again * Molk ' was once more fresh and 
young. The matter finally ended in a diner a trois — Molk, 
Roon, and I — which resulted (here the Chancellor smiled a 
cunning smile) in the Ems telegram." 

We start early to-morrow morning, as we have a long jour- 
ney to make. Our next halt will be at Versailles. 



We left Ferri^res about seven o'clock on the morning of the 
5th of October. At first we drove along by-roads, which were, 
however, in excellent condition, passing a large wood, several 
parks and chateaus and a number of respectable villages that 
appeared to be entirely deserted by their inhabitants and were 
now occupied solely by German soldiers. Everywhere an 
appearance of exceptional prosperity. Later on we reached 
a pontoon bridge decorated with the Prussian colours which 
took us over the Seine. On the other side we met the Crown 
Prince and his suite, who had ridden out to welcome the King. 
The latter, accompanied by the Chancellor, was to proceed 
from this point on horseback to a review of troops. We then 
drove on alone, turning into a high road which led to the 
village of Villeneuve le Roi. 

I had long been looking forward to my first glimpse of 
Paris. It was, however, cut off on the right by a rather high 
range of wooded hills, on the sides of which we now and then 
noticed a village or small white town. At length we come to 
an opening, a little valley, and we observe the blue outline of a 
great cupola — the Pantheon ! Hurrah ! we are at last outside 

We shortly afterwards turned into a broad paved highway 
where a Bavarian picket was stationed to watch a road which 
crossed it at this point and led towards Paris. To the left an 
extensive plain, and on the right a continuation of the chain of 
wooded heights. A white town half-way up the slope, then, 
lower down, two other villages, and we finally pass through an 
iron gateway partially gilt, traverse some busy streets, and a 
straight avenue with old trees, and then find ourselves in front 
of our quarters in Versailles. 




On the 6th of October, the day after our arrival in the old 
royal town of France, Keudell remarked that we might possibly 
remain here for some three weeks. Nor did I think it improb- 
able, as the course of the war up to that time had accustomed 
us to speedy success. We remained, however, five long months. 
But as will be seen later on, the Minister must have suspected 
that our stay would not be a short one. For this reason, and 
as our lodging was the scene of very important events, a fuller 
description of it will probably be welcome. 

The house which was occupied by the Chancellor of the 
Confederation belonged to one Madame Jesse, widow of a 
wealthy cloth manufacturer, who shortly before our arrival fled 
to Picardy with her two sons, leaving her property to the care 
of her gardener and his wife. It is No. 14 in Rue de Provence, 
which connects the Avenue de St. Cloud with the Boulevarde 
de la Reine. The Rue de Provence is one of the quietest in 
Versailles. Many of the houses are surrounded by gardens. 
Ours is a slate-roofed house of three stories, the third of these 
being a garret. From the entrance in the courtyard a flight of 
stone steps leads up to the hall door. On the right of this 
hall is the principal staircase, and the following rooms open on 
to it: the dining-room looking out on the garden, the salon, a 
billiard-room, a conservatory, and the library of the deceased 
M. Jesse. 

On the table in the salon stood an old-fashioned chimney clock 
with a fiendish figure in bronze biting his thumb. This demon 
grinned sarcastically at all the negotiations which led to the 
treaties with the South German States, the proclamation of the 
German Emperor and Empire, and afterwards to the surrender 
of Paris and the preliminaries of peace, all of which were 
signed in this salon, thus securing it a place in the world's 

The billiard-room was arranged as an office for the council- 
lors, secretaries, and decipherers. In January, when there was 
a severe frost, a portion of the winter garden was assigned to 
the officers on guard. The library was occupied by orderlies 
and chancery attendants. 

The principal staircase led to a second hall, which received 
a dim light from a square flat window let into the roof. The 
doors of the Minister's two rooms opened off this hall. Neither 


of them was more than ten paces by seven. One of these, the 
window of which opened on the garden, served at the same time 
as study and bed-chamber, and was very scantily furnished. 

The other chamber, which was somewhat better furnished, 
although not at all luxuriously, served, in addition to the salon 
on the ground floor, for the reception of visitors. During the 
negotiations for the capitulation of Paris it was put at the dis- 
posal of Jules Favre for his meditations and correspondence. 

Count Bismarck-Bohlen had a room to the left of the Chan- 
cellor's, which also opened on the park and garden, Abeken 
having the opposite room looking on the street. Bolsing had 
a small chamber near the back stairs, while I was lodged on the 
second floor over Bohlen's room. 

The park behind the house, though not large, was very 
pretty, and there during the bright autumn nights the tall figure 
and white cap of the Chancellor was frequently to be seen 
passing from the shade into the moonlight as he slowly strolled 
about. What was the sleepless man pondering over. J* What 
ideas were revolving through the mind of that solitary wan- 
derer.? What plans were forming or ripening in his brain 
during those still midnight hours.? 

It will be seen that the whole Field Foreign Office was not 
quartered at Madame Jesse's. Lothar Bucher had a handsome 
apartment in the Avenue de Paris, Keudell and the decipherers 
were lodged in a house somewhat higher up than ours in the 
Rue de Provence, and Count Hatzfeld lived in the last house 
on the opposite side of the way. There was some talk on 
several occasions of providing the Chancellor with more roomy 
and better-furnished lodgings, but the matter went no further, 
possibly because he himself felt no great desire for such a 
change, and perhaps also because he liked the quiet which 
prevailed in the comparatively retired Rue de Provence. 

During the day, however, this stillness was less idyllic than 
many newspaper correspondents described it at the time. I 
am not thinking of the fifes and drums of the troops that 
marched through the town and which reached our ears almost 
daily, nor of the noise which resulted from two sorties made 
by the Parisians in our direction, nor even of the hottest day 
of the bombardment, as we had become accustomed to all that, 
much as the miller does to the roar and rattle of his wheels. 


I refer principally to the numerous visitors of all kinds, many 
of them unwelcome, who were received by the Chancellor 
during those eventful months. Our quarters was often like 
a pigeon house from the constant flow of strangers and 
acquaintances in and out. At first non-official eavesdroppers 
and messengers came from Paris, followed later by official 
negotiators in the persons of Favre and Thiers, accompanied 
by a larger or smaller retinue. There were princely visitors 
from the Hotel des Reservoirs. The Crown Prince came sev- 
eral times and the King once. The Church was also repre- 
sented amongst the callers by high dignitaries, archbishops, 
and other prelates. Deputations from the Reichstag, individ- 
ual party leaders, higher officials, and bankers arrived from 
Berlin, while Ministers came from Bavaria and other South 
German States for the purpose of concluding treaties. Ameri- 
can generals, members of the foreign diplomatic body in Paris, 
including a "coloured gentleman," and envoys of the Imperial- 
ist party wished to speak to the busy statesman in his small 
room upstairs, and, as a matter of course, English newspaper 
correspondents eagerly tried to force their way into his pres- 
ence. Then there were Government couriers with their de- 
spatch bags, chancery attendants with telegrams, orderlies with 
messages from the General Staff, and besides all these a super- 
fluity of work which was as difficult as it was important. In 
short, what with deliberating on old schemes and forming new 
ones, seeking how to overcome difficulties, vexation, and trouble, 
the disappointment of well-grounded expectations, now and 
then a lack of support and readiness to meet his views, the 
foolish opinions of the Berlin press and their dissatisfaction 
notwithstanding our undreamt-of success, together with the 
agitation of the Ultramontanes, it was often hard to under- 
stand how the Chancellor, with all these calls upon his activity 
and patience, and with all this disturbance and friction, was, 
on the whole, able to preserve his health and maintain that 
freshness which he showed so frequently late in the evening 
in conversations both serious and humorous. During his stay 
at Versailles he was only once or twice unwell for three or four 

The Minister allowed himself little recreation — a ride be- 
tween three and four o'clock, an hour at table with half an hour 



for the cup of coffee which followed it in the drawing-room, 
and now and then, after lo p.m., a longer or shorter chat at the 
tea table with whoever happened to be there, and a couple of 
hours' sleep after daybreak. The whole remainder of the day 
was devoted to business, studying or writing in his room, or in 
conversations and negotiations, — unless a sortie of the French 
or some other important military operation called him to the 
side of the King, or alone to some post of observation. 

Nearly every day the Chancellor had guests to dinner, and 
in this way we came to see and hear almost all the well-known 
and celebrated men prominently connected with the war. Favre 
repeatedly dined with us, reluctantly at first " because his coun- 
trymen within the walls were starving," but afterwards listening 
to wise counsel and exhortation and doing justice like the rest 
of us to the good things of the kitchen and cellar. Thiers, with 
his keen intelligent features, was on one occasion amongst the 
guests, and the Crown Prince once did us the honour to dine at 
our table, when such of the Chief's assistants as were not pre- 
viously known to him were presented. At another time Prince 
Albrecht was present. Of the Minister's further guests, I will 
here only mention Delbriick, President of the Bundeskanzleiamt, 
who was frequently in Versailles for weeks at a time, the Duke 
of Ratibor, Prince Putbus, von Benndigsen, Simson, Bamberger, 
Friedenthal and von Blankenburg, the Bavarian Ministers Count 
Bray and von Lutz, the Wiirtemberg Ministers von Wachter and 
Mittnacht, von Roggenbach, Prince Radziwill, and finally Odo 
Russell, who was subsequently British Ambassador to the Ger- 
man Empire. When the Chief was present the conversation 
was always lively and varied, while it was frequently instructive 
as illustrating his manner of regarding men and things, or as 
throwing light upon certain episodes and incidents of his past 

Madame Jesse put in an appearance a few days before our 
departure and, as previously observed, did not produce a good 
impression. She seems to have made charges against us which 
the French press, even papers that laid claim to some respecta- 
bility, circulated with manifest pleasure. Amongst other things 
we are alleged to have packed up her plate and table linen. 
Furthermore, Count Bismarck tried to compel her to give him 
a valuable clock. 




The first assertion was simply an absurdity, as there was no 
silver in the house, unless it was in a corner of the cellar which 
was walled up, and which — on the express directions of the 
Chief — was left unopened. The true story about the clock was 
quite different to that circulated by Madame Jesse. The article 
in question was the timepiece in the drawing-room with the 
small bronze demon. Madame Jesse offered the Chancellor this 
piece of furniture, which in itself was of comparatively little 
value, at an exorbitant price, on the assumption that he prized 
it as a witness to the important negotiations that had taken 
place in her room. I believe she asked 5000 francs for it. But 
she overreached herself, and her offer was declined. "I re- 
member," said the Minister afterwards in Berlin, " observing at 
the time that possibly the impish figure on the clock, which 
made such faces, might be particularly dear to her as a family 
portrait, and that I should be sorry to deprive her of it." 



The day after our arrival at Versailles I forwarded the 
following statement with regard to the measures taken against 
Jacoby, in accordance with the Chief's views. It was an answer 
to the protests which had been made by the German press 
against his arrest, and not merely by the democratic and the 
progressist organs, which invariably criticise political and mili- 
tary affairs from the standpoint of private morals. 

" We still hear a great deal about the alleged illegality com- 
mitted in arresting Jacoby. That measure might have been in- 
opportune ; perhaps less importance might have been attached 
to his demonstrations. But there was nothing illegal in the 
course adopted, as we are now in a state of war, when the civil 
code must yield to military necessity. The imprisonment of 
Jacoby falls within the military jurisdiction, with which the 
police and the judicial authorities have nothing to do. It is 
in no sense to be regarded as a punishment. Jacoby is simply 
a prisoner of war, just as would be a spy arrested in Germany, 
with whom of course we do not wish otherwise to compare him. 
In other words, he was one of the forces that increased the 
difficulty of attaining the object of the war, and had accordingly 
to be rendered harmless. 

"This will be made clear by a glance at the numerous 
instances in which those entrusted with the conduct of war 
are obliged to override the rights of person and property recog- 
nised by the constitution. For purposes of successful defence 
private property may be destroyed without previously arranging 
the terms of compensation, houses may be burned and trees cut 
down, an entrance may be forced into private residences, street 
traffic may be stopped and every other means of transport such 
as ships, carts, &c., can be either seized or destroyed without 
the previous permission of the owner, that rule applying to our 


Oct. 6, 1870] 



own as well as to the enemy's country. The removal of persons 
who afford the enemy either moral or material support, or who 
merely give rise to suspicion that they do so, comes under the 
same category of laws which apply to countries in a state of war. 

*' These principles are not contested in so far as they are 
applicable to the immediate seat of war. The idea upon which 
they are based is not, however, affected by the locality. Those 
who wield the power of the State must exercise the rights and 
fulfil the duties accorded to and imposed upon them for the 
purpose of securing the object of the war, without regard to 
the distance from the actual scene of warfare of the obstacles 
which require removal. They are bound to prevent the occur- 
rence of such incidents as render the attainment of peace less 
easy. We are now carrying on a war for the purpose of en- 
forcing conditions which will hinder the enemy from attacking 
us in future. Our opponents resist these conditions and will be 
greatly encouraged and strengthened in their resistance by a 
declaration on the part of Germans that these conditions are 
inexpedient and unjust. The Brunswick working-class mani- 
festo and the Konigsberg resolution have been utilised to the 
utmost by the French press and have obviously confirmed the 
Republicans now holding power in Paris in the idea that they 
are right in rejecting those conditions. These French Repub- 
licans measure the influence of their German sympathisers on 
the Governments of Germany by the standard of their own 
experience. The impression which those demonstrations at 
Brunswick and Konigsberg produced in Germany was probably 
little, but the point is, what effect did they have in Paris } 
The effect there is such that similar demonstrations must be 
rendered impossible in future, and their instigator must accord- 
ingly be put out of harm's way." 

In the morning Keudell said to me we might remain in 
Versailles for about three weeks. Metz would soon be obliged 
to capitulate, as they now had only horseflesh to eat and no 
salt. They were still confident in Paris, although there was 
great mortality amongst their cattle, which were fed on com- 
pressed food. Burnside, who had been in the city, confirmed 
this news. The Minister was less sanguine. The question of 
uniforms for the Secretaries was again brought up, and in this 
connection the Chief remarked that the war might yet con- 

VOL. I. — N 

1^8 ROYAL LOAFERS [Ocr. 7 

tinue for a considerable time, perhaps till Christmas, possibly 
till Easter, and probably a portion of the troops would remain 
in France for years to come. Paris should have been imme- 
diately stormed on the 19th of September, or left entirely on 
one side. He then told his valet to send to Berlin for his fur 

In the further course of conversation the Minister said : 
" I heard something really characteristic to-day. The host of 
Princes who have followed us and who are lodging at the 
H6tel des Reservoirs are living at the expense of the town! 
They let the municipality feed them, though they have merely 
come out of curiosity, and are nothing more than distinguished 
loafers. It is particularly shabby of the Duke of Coburg, who 
is a rich man with an annual revenue of a million thalers. 
Such a piece of meanness ought to be noticed in the press. It 
is shameful for a Prince to allow himself to be fed by a town 
already so impoverished." The Chief again returned to this 
subject a little later : " The royal household is a very compre- 
hensive conception, and so it is impossible to object to these 
gentlemen being fed. The King pays for the Crown Prince, 
and the Crown Prince for the other princely personages. But 
it is mean of the latter to help to suck the town dry, and the 
newspapers should not overlook it." 

I afterwards asked the Minister, who was alone with me in 
the drawing-room, where he remained behind after taking a 
cup of coffee, whether I should send the press particulars of 
the not very gentlemanly conduct of the Princes. " Certainly, 
why not ? " he replied ; " and you can also give the name of 
the Coburger — not in our own papers, however." The bolt 
was accordingly despatched to Metzler, of the Foreign Office 
in Berlin, who was to pass it on to the Koelnische Zeitimg. 

" An Englishman at the headquarters at Meaux " wrote to 
the Daily Telegraph that the Chief on the conclusion of his 
interview with Malet said : " What gives myself and the King 
most anxiety is the influence of a French Republic in Germany. 
We are very well aware how American Republicanism has 
reacted upon Germany, and if the French oppose us with a 
republican propaganda it will do us more harm than their 
armies." The Minister wrote on the margin of this statement : 
"An absurd lie." 


Friday y October yth. — Hatzfeld informed us at lunch that 
the Greek Minister in Paris, with a "family" of twenty-four 
or twenty-five persons, has come out to us on his way to Tours 
to join the delegation of the Government of National Defence. 
His boy told the Count that he did not at all like Paris. They 
got too little meat to eat there. 

Prepared an article for the press from the following sketch : 
"We are carrying on war, not with a view to a permanent occu- 
pation of France, but to secure a peace on the conditions which 
we have laid down. For that reason we desire to negotiate 
with a Government which represents the will of France, and 
whose declarations and concessions will bind France as well as 
ourselves. The present Government has not that character. 
It must be confirmed by a National Assembly, or replaced by 
another Government. A general election is necessary for that 
purpose; and we are quite prepared to permit this to take 
place in those parts of the country which we occupy, so far 
as strategic considerations will allow. The present holders 
of power in Paris, however, have no disposition to adopt this 
course. For personal considerations they injure the interests 
of the country by inflicting upon it a continuance of the evils 
of war." 

Hatzfeld complained at dinner that the Greeks, who are 
anxious to get away, pestered him with their lamentations. 
" Yes," said the Chief, ** they too must be regarded with sus- 
picion. They must first be identified according to their de- 
scriptions, and it must then be seen whether they have been 
properly circumcised. But no, that is not customary among 
the Greeks. What seems to me, however, more suspicious even 
than this enormous diplomatic family is Wittgenstein, who 
comes out at the risk of his life on pretence of having de- 
spatches for me, and who afterwards turns out to have none. 
I wonder do they fancy that we shall tolerate this running to 
and fro between Paris and Kutusoff .? " 

" But," said Hatzfeld, " he might be able to bring us news 
from the city." 

The Chief : " For that purpose he should bear a character 
that inspires confidence, and that he does not do." 

The conversation then turned on the exhausted condition of 
the town of Versailles, which has had heavy expenses to bear 


during the last fortnight. The new Mayor, a M. Rameau, was 
granted an audience with the Chief to-day. Referring to this 
the Minister said : " I told him that they should raise a loan. 
*Yes,' he replied, 'that would be possible, but then he must 
ask permission to go to Tours, as he required the authority of 
his Government for such a measure.' Of course I could not 
promise him that, and besides they would hardly give him the 
necessary authority there. Probably they think at Tours that 
it is the duty of the Versailles people to starve in order that we 
may be starved with them. But they forget that we are the 
stronger and take what we want. They have absolutely no 
idea what war is." 

A reference to the neighbourhood between the palace and 
the Hotel des Reservoirs brought up the subject of the distin- 
guished guests who are staying at the latter house. Amongst 
other remarks upon the "troop of Princes," the Chancellor 
said : " They have nothing decent to eat at that hotel, possibly 
because the people think their highnesses wish to have it 

Finally some one broached the question of tolerance, an;l at 
first the Chancellor expressed himself much in the same sense 
as he had done at St. Avoid. He declared in decided terms 
for tolerance in matters of faith. " But," he added, " the free- 
thinkers are also not tolerant. They persecute believers, not 
indeed with the stake, since that is impossible, but with insult 
and mockery in the press. Amongst the people, so far as they 
are non-believers, there has also not been much progress. 
What pleasure it would afford them to see Pastor Knack 
hanged ! " 

Somebody having mentioned that early Protestantism had 
shown no tolerance, Bucher called attention to the fact that, 
according to Buckle, the Huguenots were zealous reactionaries, 
as was, indeed, the case with all the reformers of that period. 
" They were not exactly reactionaries," replied the Chief, " but 
petty tyrants — each parson was a small Pope." He then 
referred to the course taken by Calvin against Servetus, and 
added, " Luther was just the same." I ventured to recall 
Luther's treatment of the followers of Karlstadt and Munzer, as 
well as the case of the Wittenberg theologians after him, and 
Chancellor Krell. Bucher related that towards the end of the 


last century the Scottish Presbyterians punished a person for 
merely lending Thomas Paine's Rights of Man with twenty-one 
years' transportation, the offender being immediately cast into 
chains. I pointed to the rigid intolerance of the New England 
States towards the members of other religious communions and 
to their tyrannical liquor law. ** And the Sabbath-keeping," 
said the Chief, ''that is a horrible tyranny. I remember the 
first time I went to England, on landing at Hull I whistled in 
the street. An Englishman, whose acquaintance I had made 
on board, said to me, ' Pray, sir, don't whistle ! ' I asked, * Why 
not } is it forbidden here } ' * No,' he said, * but it is the 
Sabbath.' That made me so angry that I immediately took a 
ticket on another steamer for Edinburgh, as it did not at all suit 
me not to be able to whistle when I had a mind to." Bucher 
remarked that in general the Sunday in England was not so 
bad. He himself had always greatly enjoyed the stillness after 
the rush and roar of the working day in London, where the 
noise began early in the morning. The Chancellor then con- 
tinued : ** In other respects I am not at all opposed to keeping 
the Sabbath holy. On the contrary, as a landed proprietor, I 
promote it as much as possible. Only I will not force the 
people. Every one must know best for himself how to prepare 
for the future life. No work should be done on Sunday, 
because it is wrong as being a breach of the Divine command- 
ment, and unfair to man, who requires rest. That of course 
does not apply to the service of the State and in particular to 
the diplomatic service, in which despatches and telegrams are 
delivered on Sundays which must be dealt with at once. There 
can also be no objection to our country people saving their hay 
or corn on a fine Sunday after a long spell of bad weather. I 
could not bring myself to coerce my farmers in those things. . . . 
I can afford to do as I think right myself, as the damage done 
by a possible rainy Monday would not affect me. Our landed 
proprietors consider that it is not respectable to allow their 
people to work on Sunday even in such an emergency ! " I 
mentioned that pious families in America do not even cook on 
the Sabbath, and that on being once invited to dinner in New 
York on a Sunday there was only cold meat on the table. " In 
Frankfort,'' said the Chief, " when I had more liberty we 
always dined very simply on Sundays, and I never ordered the 

1 82 THIRTEEN AT TABLE [Oct. io 

carriage out on account of the servants." I ventured to remark 
that in Leipzig all shops were closed on Sunday, with the 
exception of the bakers' and some tobacconists. " Yes, that is 
as it should be ; but I do not want to put pressure on anybody. 
I might possibly do it in the country by not buying from a 
tradesman — that is, if his goods were not of exceptionally high 
quality, for then I do not know whether I should be able to 
stand firm. Care should be taken, however, that noisy trades, 
such as that of the blacksmith, should not be carried on in the 
neighbourhood of a church on Sunday." 

I was summoned to the Minister in the evening. " Thile ^ 
writes to me," he said, " that the Norddeiitsche Allgemeine Zei- 
tung has a terrible article against the Catholics. Is it by you } " 
** I do not know which he alludes to, as I have recently called 
attention on several occasions to the proceedings of the Ultra- 
montanes." He then searched for the extract, which he read 
over half aloud. " But that is perfectly true and correct. Yes, 
that's quite right. Our good Thile has been thoroughly taken 
in by Savigny. He has gone out of his wits and howls because 
we have not rescued the Pope and his whole family." 

We were thirteen at table to-day. Dr. Lauer being one of 
the number. I pointed this out to Bucher, who sat near me. 
" Don't speak so loud," he replied. " The Chief has a very 
sharp ear and he is superstitious on that point." ^ 

Monday, October loth. — Called to the Chief twice during 

1 At that time Secretary of State in the Foreign Office. He was not a 

2 Bucher afterwards told me that the Chancellor was affected both by the super- 
stition respecting the number thirteen and that relating to Friday. Other diplomats, 
as, for instance, the French, seem to entertain the same objection both to the number 
and the day. The following anecdotCi which I was assured was perfectly genuine, 
may serve as an example. After the negotiations respecting the duty payable by 
ships passing through the Sound had been completed, it was arranged that the treaty 
containing the terms agreed upon should be signed at Copenhagen on the 13th of 
March, 1857. It turned out that the day thus chosen was not only the thirteenth 
of the month, but was also a Friday, and that there were thirteen Plenipotentiaries to 
sign the document. " A threefold misfortune ! " exclaimed the French Plenipotenti- 
ary. To his delight, however, the addition of the signatures was postponed for some 
days owing to difficulties occasioned by the diflference in the rate of exchange of Danish 
and Prussian thalers. The number of representatives still caused him so much anxi- 
ety, however, that it made him ill, and it was only on the decease of the Hanoverian 
Plenipotentiary a few weeks later that the Frenchman and the other signatories of 
the treaty felt that they were no longer in danger of sudden death. 

1870] THE TIMES 183 

the morning. He went subsequently to the Crown Prince's 
quarters, where he remained for lunch. 

The conversation at dinner at first turned on the interview 
of the King with Napoleon at Bellevue, near Sedan, respecting 
which Russell sent a full report to the Times, although the two 
sovereigns were alone and the Chancellor himself was only- 
aware of what had passed in so far as the King had assured 
him that there had been absolutely no reference to politics. 
"As a matter of fact," said the Chancellor, "it would not have 
been nice of * our Most Gracious ' to have maintained silence 
only towards his Ministers. Russell must unquestionably have 
received his news from the Crown Prince." 

I now forget how and by whom the subject of dangerous 
touring expeditions was introduced, but the Minister himself 
related some daring enterprises of his own. " I remember," he 
said, " being once with a party, amongst whom were the Orloffs, 
in South France near the Pont du Gard. An old Roman aque- 
duct of several stories crossed the valley. Princess Orloff, a 
very spirited lady, proposed that we should go across over it. 
There was a very narrow path, about a foot and a half wide, 
along one side of the old water channel, and on the other side 
a wall of big slabs of stone. It looked a very hazardous under- 
taking, but I could not allow myself to be beaten by a woman. 
We two accordingly started on this enterprise, Orloff going 
with the rest of the company down by the valley. For some 
time we walked on all right along the stone wall, from which we 
could see a depth of several hundred feet beneath us. Further 
on, however, the stones had fallen off and we had to pick our 
way along the narrow ledge. Then we came to another stretch 
of relatively easy going, but after there was another very bad 
bit on an unsafe ledge. Screwing up my courage I stepped 
out quickly after the Princess, and grasping her with one arm, 
jumped down with her into the channel some four to five feet 
deep. Our companions below, who had suddenly lost sight of 
us, were in the greatest anxiety until at length we came out on 
the other side." 

In the evening I was called to the Chief to receive instruc- 
tions respecting Garibaldi, who, according to a telegram from 
Tours, had arrived there and offered his services to the French 
Republic. The Chancellor said : " But just tell me why you 


sometimes write in such a sledge-hammer style ? It is true I 
have not seen the text of your telegram about Russell, but your 
recent article on the Ultramontanes in the Norddeutsche All- 
gemeine Zcihmg was very strongly worded. Surely the Saxons 
are usually regarded as a very polite race, and if you have any 
ambition to become Court Historian to the Foreign Office, you 
must not be so violent." I ventured to reply that I could also 
be polite, and was capable of irony without rudeness. " Well, 
then," he said, *'be polite but without irony. Write diplo- 
matically. Even in a declaration of war one observes the rules 
of politeness." 

Tuesday y October iitk. — It appears from the conversation 
at dinner that an assembly of a congress of German Princes at 
Versailles has been for some time past under consideration. 
It is hoped that the King of Bavaria will also come. In that 
case Delbriick thinks " it would be well to place at his disposal 
one of the historic apartments in the palace — possibly the bed- 
room of Louis XIV. With his character he would be certainly 
delighted at such an arrangement, and would not be too exact- 
ing in the matter of comfort." The Chief dined to-day with 
the Crown Prince, and did not return until 10 o'clock, when he 
had an interview with Burnside. 

Wednesday, October 1 2th. — Amongst other things I wrote 
to-day another article on the hostile attitude assumed by the 
Ultramontanes towards us in this war. 

It was directed against the ScJilesische Haus-Bldtter, and 
coficluded as follows: "We should have thought that it was 
impossible at this time of day to be misunderstood in using the 
terms * ultramontane ' and * ultramontanism.' We should have 
thought t-hat honest Catholics would as clearly have understood 
what was meant thereby as do other Christians, and that as 
honest Catholics they could not possibly take offence at strict- 
ures upon ultramontane agitation and attacks. Acting on this 
supposition, we called attention to the resistance offered by that 
party to the latest development of German affairs. To our 
great astonishment, however, we learn through a Silesian jour- 
nal that our article, in which the party in question was de- 
scribed as ultramontane, has actually given offence, and been 
regarded as a censure and impeachment of Catholicism itself. 
We deprecate any such interpretation of our meaning. Nothing 



was more remote from our intention. From our standpoint 
Ultramontanism has just as little in common with the faith of 
the Catholic Church as Atheism and Nihilism have with the 
Protestant Church. Ultramontanism is of a purely political 
character. It is the spirit of a sect with exclusively worldly 
aims, namely, the restoration as far as possible of universal 
empire on a mediaeval theocratic basis. It does not recognise 
the claims of patriotism, and it considers the end to justify the 
means. In speaking of the Ultramontanes as zealous oppo- 
nents of Germany in the present war, the examples which we 
gave made it sufficiently clear to whom we referred. For the 
purpose of removing all doubt on this point, however, and to 
prevent the possibility in future of circles for whom we enter- 
tain feelings of respect taking unnecessary offence at remarks 
which were not intended for them, we will here add a few 
further examples. 

"When we complained of the hostility of the Ultramon- 
tanes, we were thinking of those French priests who were con- 
victed upon trustworthy evidence of having fired upon our 
soldiers. In repeating these charges we have other priests in 
mind who, a few days ago, under the pretext of bringing the 
last consolation to the dying, sneaked through our camp out- 
side Paris as spies ; and the manifesto of the former Ultra- 
montane deputy, Keller, an Alsacian, published in the Uition^ 
which declares that the war against us is a * holy war,' and that 
every shot fired at a German is an oeuvre sainte. We imagine 
that after this explanation our Silesian contemporary will no 
longer doubt our respect for the Catholic Church, and will not 
itself desire to identify the Catholic cause with those who thus 
act and speak, and are guilty of such a gross abuse of the con- 
ception of * holiness.* " 

On my submitting the article to the Chief he said : " You 
still write too bluntly for me. But you told me that you were 
capable of delicate irony. Here, however, there is much more 
irony than delicacy." (I had only reproduced his own expres- 
sions, which, however, shall be avoided in future.) " Write it 
all in a different strain. You must write politically, and in poli- 
tics the object is not to give offence." The Chief then altered 
the article in part, the first paragraph assuming the following 
form : '* We had not believed that at this time of day the use 


of the expressions ' ultramontane ' and ' ultramontanism ' could 
lead to any misunderstanding. We imagined that Catholics 
had as clear a conception of the meanings of those words as 
the members of other Christian communities, and that they 
would understand that no offence was intended to them in 
complaining of the attacks of the Ultramontanes. It was on 
this supposition that we dealt with the opposition of the party 
in question to the latest development of German affairs, and we 
are surprised to find that a Silesian newspaper, notorious for its 
violence of language, has inverted our meaning, substituting the 
Catholic-Christian world for the coterie which we attacked." 
The Minister struck out the adjective " zealous " before " oppo- 
nents of Germany," and also the following sentence beginning 
with the words " For the purpose of removing." The conclud- 
ing passage read as follows after the Minister had corrected it: 
" In complaining of the Ultramontanes we were thinking, as we 
expressly stated, of the party of the Munchener Volksboten and 
similar organs, whose slanderous jibes stir up the Germans 
against each other, and who encouraged the French to attack 
Germany and are partly responsible for the present war, inas- 
much as they represented French victory to be easy and cer- 
tain, and the German people to be disunited ; we had in mind 
the priests of Upper Alsace and the French priests who insti- 
gated the country population to murderous attacks upon our 
troops, in which they themselves took part ; we had further in 
view those priests who sullied the cloth, sneaking into our camp 
as spies under pretence of bringing the last consolation to the 
dying, and who are at the present moment being tried by court- 
martial for this conduct ; and we were also thinking of a manifesto 
published in the Union by the former Ultramontane deputy, 
Keller, an Alsacian, in which the present war was represented 
as a crusade, and every shot fired at a German as an oeuvre 
sainte. We imagine that the Silesian journal in question will 
hardly succeed in obtaining credence when it casts doubt upon 
our respect for the Catholic Church. It will not desire to 
identify the cause of Catholicism with that of men who have 
been guilty of such a wicked abuse of sacred things and of 
genuine faith." 

The Chief dined with the King to-day, but afterwards joined 
us at table, where he complained of the way in which the smaller 



potentates worried ** their " Chancellor with all sorts of questions 
and counsels, " until Prince Charles noticed my appealing glance 
and saved me from their clutches." 

After dinner a gentleman who has come from Paris, supposed 
to be a Spanish diplomat, succeeded in obtaining an interview 
with the Chancellor, and remained with him for a long time. 
Like other gentlemen who have come from the city, he will not 
be allowed to return. Some of us considered the visit rather 

Burnside came in while we were at tea. He wishes to leave 
here and go to Brussels, in order to find apartments for his 
wife, who is now at Geneva. He says that Sheridan has left 
for Switzerland and Italy. Apparently the Americans can 
do nothing further in the way of negotiations. The general 
wished to see the Chief again this evening. I dissuaded him, 
pointing out that although, owing to his great regard for the 
Americans, the Chancellor would receive him if he were an- 
nounced, yet consideration ought to be paid to the heavy pres- 
sure upon his time. This was quite in accord with the Chief's 
wishes, as on my being summoned to him at 10.30 p.m. he said : 
" As you know Burnside, please point out to him how much I 
am occupied, but in such a way that he will not think I have 
prompted you. He never quite finishes what he has got to say, 
but always keeps back something for another time. It is only 
fair that he should know how busy I am, and that I am a matter- 
of-fact man. I have a weakness for these Americans, and they 
know it, but they ought to have some consideration for me. 
Point that out to him, and say that I must make short work of 
it even with crowned heads. Besides, I require six or seven 
hours daily for my work and must therefore remain at it until 
late into the night." 

Thiers day, October iT^th. — Read and made use of a report 
from Rome giving the result of the plebiscite, which shows that 
there is no longer any Papal party there. It would appear as 
if the whole political organisation of the Papal State has fallen 
into dust like a corpse that, after remaining unchanged for a 
thousand years in its leaden shell, has been suddenly exposed 
to the air. There is nothing left of it — not a memory nor even 
a void which it had filled. The voting, which had to be con- 
ducted according to the Italian Constitution, is a voluntary 

1 83 ITALY AND THE POPE [Oct. 14 

manifestation of opinions which either involve no sacrifice or a 
very slight one, except, of course, to the emigrants. So far as 
those opinions indicate an antipathy to the political regime of 
the Papacy, there can be no possibility of a reaction. On the 
other hand, whether the Romans will desire to be and to re- 
main subjects of the King of Italy will depend, so far as the 
permanence of his rule is concerned, upon the manner in which 
they are governed. 

I received this report from the Chancellor, with instructions 
to utilise it in the press. The statistical information, however, 
was all that was to be taken. " It would appear therefrom," he 
added, " that there has been some trickery. But do not draw 
any moral against either the Pope or Italy." 

To judge by a letter from St. Louis, dated the 13th 
of September, national sentiment amongst the Germans in 
America would seem to have been greatly stimulated by the 
success of the war, and to be now much stronger than their 
republican leanings. "A German who has lived here for 
twenty years, who was formerly your deadly foe, but whose 
ideal you now are," thus enthusiastically addresses the Chan- 
cellor: "Forward, Bismarck! Hurrah for Germany! Hurrah 
for William the First, Emperor of Germany!" Bravo! But 
it appears that our democrats must emigrate before they can be 
brought to entertain such feelings. 

The conversation at dinner was not of particular interest 
to-day. While taking our coffee, the Chancellor again read* 
us a portion of a letter from " Johanna " (his wife), which con- 
tained some very severe judgments upon the French, referring, 
amongst other things, to Paris as an " abominable Babel." 

Friday, October 14th. — Busy working for the post up to 
midday. Telegraphed afterwards to London and Brussels 
respecting the false assertions of Ducrot in the Liberty. Also 
reported that General Boyer, Bazaine's first adjutant, had 
arrived at Versailles from Metz for the purpose of negotiating 
with us. The Chief, however, does not seem to wish to treat 
seriously with him, at least to-day. He said in the bureau : 
"What day of the month is it.?" "The 14th, Excellency." 
"Ah, that was Hochkirchen and Jena, days of disaster for 
Prussia. We must not begin any business to-day." It may 
also be observed that to-day is a Friday. 


1870] , GENERAL BOYEK l^g 

At dinner the Chief, after thinking for a moment, said, 
smiling: "I have a lovely idea in connection with the conclusion 
of peace. It is to appoint an International Court for the trial 
of all those who have instigated the war, newspaper writers, 
deputies, senators, and ministers." Abeken added that Thiers 
would also be indirectly involved, especially on account of his 
chauvinistic History of the Consulate and Empire. "The 
Emperor also," said the Chief. ** He is not quite so innocent 
as he wants to make out. My idea was that each of the Great 
Powers should appoint an equal number of judges, America, 
England, Russia, and so forth, and that we should be the prose- 
cutors. But the English and the Russians would of course not 
agree to it, so that the Court might after all be composed of the 
two nations who have suffered most from the war, that is to 
say, of Frenchmen and Germans." The Minister also said : " I 
have read the article in the htdependance Beige, which Gram- 
mont is believed to have written. He blames us for not having 
set Napoleon at liberty at Sedan, and he is not pleased at our 
marching on Paris instead of merely occupying Alsace and 
Lorraine as a pledge. I thought at first it might have come 
from Beust or some other good friend in Austria, but I am now 
convinced that it must have been written by a Frenchman." 
He gave his reasons for this opinion and then continued : " His 
argument would be just if his assumption were correct, namely, 
that we really did not want Alsace, but only an indemnity. 
But as it is it will be better to have Paris as well as Alsace as 
pledges. When one wants something decent the pledge can 
never be of too great value." 

A reference was made to Boyer, who created a great sensa- 
tion in the town, where the uniform of a French general has not 
been seen for a long time past, and who was greeted by the 
crowd with shouts of " Vive la France ! " He declared, it is 
said, that the army in Metz remained faithful to the Emperor 
and would have nothing to do with the Republic of Parisian 
lawyers. The Chancellor also expressed himself to this effect, 
adding : " The General is one of those people who become sud- 
denly lean when they grow excited. Unquestionably he is also 
a thorough scoundrel, but he can still blush." In reading the 
following further remarks by the Minister, it must be remem- 
bered that Gambetta had already preached war a outrance^ and 

1 90 


that the Parisian press almost daily recommended some new 

The Chancellor referred to various horrors that had again 
been committed recently by bands of guerillas. He quoted 
the proverb Wie es in den Wald schallt so schallt es wieder 
heraus (The wood reechoes what is shouted into it), and said 
that to show any consideration to these treacherous franctireurs 
was a "culpable laziness in killing." "It is treason to our 
country." " Our people are very good marksmen, but bad 
executioners. Every village in which an act of treachery has 
been committed should be burnt -to the ground, and all the 
male inhabitants hanged." 

Count Bismarck-Bohlen then related that the village of Hably, 
where a squadron of Silesian hussars was set upon by francti- 
reurs with the knowledge of the inhabitants, so that they only 
succeeded in bringing away eleven horses, was actually burnt to 
the ground. The Chief, as was only right and proper, com- 
mended this act of energy. 

Bohlen further stated that sixty Bavarian infantrymen who 
were with the cavalry detachment had not kept proper watch, 
and that when the franctireurs poured in from all sides at 3 
o'clock in the morning, they took to their heels. The Chief 
said: "That fact should be published in order that we may 
take proper precautions later when we enter into a military 
convention with Bavaria." 

The Chancellor's policy appears to be hampered by other 
influences. He said at table : "It is really a great nuisance that 
I must first discuss every plan I form with five or six persons, 
who as a rule know nothing about the matter. I must listen to 
their objections, and am forced to refute them politely. In this 
way I have been recently obliged to spend three whole days 
over an affair that I could otherwise have settled in three min- 
utes. It is exactly as if I began to give my opinion on the 
position of a battery, and the officer — whose business I do not 
understand — were obliged to reply to my argument." 

The Chief afterwards related the following : " Moltke and 
Roon were with me yesterday, and I explained to them my ideas. 
Roon, who is accustomed to Parliamentary procedure, was silent 
and let me speak, and then agreed with what I said. * Molk,' 
whose profile resembles more and more every day that of a bird of 


prey, also appeared to be listening. But when I had finished he 
came out with something utterly different, and I saw that he had 
not paid the least attention to my explanation, but had on the 
contrary been spinning out some ideas of his own which had 
nothing to do with the matter. * Molk' is an exceedingly able 
man, and I am convinced that whatever he gave his attention 
to he would do well. But for years past he has devoted him- 
self to one single subject, and he has come to have no head and 
no interest for anything else. It put me in a temper to find I 
had been talking to deaf ears, but I took my revenge. Instead 
of repeating my explanation I observed to Roon : * You have 
given me your opinion, therefore you have followed what I said. 
Will you now have the kindness to explain the matter once 
more .? ' " 

Sunday, October i6tk. — This morning I received another 
letter from Bamberger, who writes from Lausanne. He thinks 
Bismarck can do what he likes if he will only follow a sound 
German policy, that is to say, "if a United German State is 
now firmly established." " In Germany people are convinced 
that this solution rests with the Chancellor of the Confedera- 
tion, and all opposition offered to it is attributed by public 
opinion to the Minister. People say to themselves that if Count 
Bismarck did not secretly encourage that opposition it would 
not dare to manifest itself in such a great crisis." Finally Bam- 
berger asked whether he should come here. At his request 
I submitted a number of points in his letter to the Minister. 
The Chief said he would be very pleased to see Bamberger 
here, as his local knowledge of Paris would be very useful once 
we got in the city. ** Then he can also on his return explain 
many things in his own circles which it would be difficult to 
write. It is strange, though, that they should think I do not 
desire to see Germany united. The cause is not progressing as 
it ought to do, owing to the constant tergiversation of Bavaria 
and Wiirtemberg, and because we do not know exactly what 
King Lewis thinks. For the same reasons, if this unity is at 
length secured, many things to which many people look for- 
ward will still be wanting." 

Monday, October lyth. — In the evening we were told to 
pack our boxes, and that the carriages were to take their 
place behind those of the King's suite opposite the Prefecture 


in case of an alarm in the night. A sortie has been expected 
since yesterday. 

Tuesday, October \%th. — The Chief took lunch with us 
to-day, a thing which has seldom happened recently. 

The Chief then read a number of particularly edifying 
private letters to the Emperor Napoleon which had been pub- 
lished by the Provisional Government, his comments upon them 
also containing occasional references to personages in Berlin. 
The Minister said, with reference to a letter from Pourtales, 
*' Schleinitz was very discreet in speaking of his colleagues, but 
being a vain old coxcomb he was exceedingly loquacious with 
women of all sorts and conditions." (Turning to Delbriick.) 
"You should just have a glance at the police reports which 
Manteuffel had prepared on this subject." 

The Minister afterwards referred to a statement in the 
Krajy and in connection therewith to the Poles in general. He 
spoke a good deal about the victories of the Great Elector in 
the East, and the alliance with Charles the Tenth of Sweden, 
which had promised him great advantages. It was a pity, how- 
ever, that his relations with Holland prevented him from fol- 
lowing up those advantages and fully availing himself of them. 
He would otherwise have had a good prospect of extending 
his power in Western Poland. On Delbriick remarking that 
then Prussia would not have remained a German State, the 
Chief replied : " It would not have done any great harm. In 
that case there would have been a northern State somewhat 
similar to Austria in the south. Poland would have been for 
us what Hungary is to Austria." This observation reminded 
me of what he had previously said on one occasion, namely, that 
he had advised the Crown Prince to have his son taught the 
Polish language, which, however, to his regret, was not done. 

Wednesday, October igtk. — At dinner, at which Count Wal- 
dersee joined us, the Minister remarked: "It would be a good 
plan if the inhabitants of a few square miles of those districts 
where our troops are fired at from behind hedges, and where 
the rails are loosened and stones laid upon the railway lines, 
were transported to Germany and kept under close watch 
there." Bucher related how, on his journey hither, an officer 
had borrowed his revolver and played with it ostentatiously 
while they were passing under a bridge from which French 


scamps were accustomed to spit down upon our people. The 
Chief exclaimed: "Why//^j// He should have waited till 
they had done it, and then fired at them." 

If I rightly understand, Weimar had "commanded" the 
Chancellor to call upon him this evening, as he wished to 
obtain information on some subject. The Chief said: "I sent 
him word that I was detained by my health and the business of 

Waldersee understands that, during the burning of the Pal- 
ace of Saint Cloud, some of the minor Princes had " saved for 
themselves " various ** souvenirs," such as vases, trinkets, and 
books, but were forced to return them by order of the Crown 
Prince. Bohlen made some outrageous jokes upon the Weimar 
order of the White Falcon, which led to a discussion on orders 
in general, and the plentiful crop of this species of fruit which 
many people have already harvested. " Yes," said the Chief, 
" such quantities of tin plate ! If it were only possible to give 
away the orders of which one has too many ! To you, for 
instance. Dr. Busch. How would you like it .? " *' No, thank 
you. Excellency," I replied ; " very many thanks. But yes, 
if I could have one of those that you have worn yourself, as a 
memento, that would be something different. Otherwise I do 
not want any." 

Thursday^ October 20th. — Morning and afternoon busy 
writing various articles and telegrams. 

The arrest of Jacoby by the military authorities was one of 
the subjects discussed at dinner, and the Chief once more 
expressed great doubts as to its expediency. Bismarck-Bohlen 
was highly pleased that **the chattering scoundrel had been 
locked up ! " The Chancellor's reply was very characteristic. 
He said : " I am not at all pleased. A party man might be, 
because it would gratify his vindictiveness. A statesman knows 
no such feeling. In politics the only question is, what good 
result will it do to ill-treat a political opponent } " 

Some one remarked that the Grand Duke of Weimar was 
very angry because the Chief had not gone to see him as 
desired, whereupon the Minister turned to Keudell and said 
rather sharply : " Tell (I could not catch the name) imme- 
diately that I was indignant at his Gracious Master making 
such claims upon my time and health, and that he should have 

VOL. I. — O 


such an erroneous idea of the duties which I have to discharge." 
"I can now understand how poor Wartsdorf came to die so 
young." " The Coburger worries me almost as much. He has 
written me a twelve-page letter on German politics, but I have 
given him a proper answer. I told him that of all the points 
he mentioned there was only one which had not been long since 
dealt with, and that one was not worth discussing. He did us 
a good service, however, in 1866. It is true that previously he 
was bad enough — when he wished to be Emperor of Germany, 
and put himself at the head of a secret shooting club. At that 
time I seriously intended to have him kidnapped by a regiment 
of hussars and brought to Magdeburg, and I submitted my pro- 
posal to the King. He is eaten up with vanity." The Minister 
then related that the Duke had ordered a picture to be painted 
of himself as the victor of Eckernforde, seated on a prancing 
charger with a bombshell exploding at his feet; while, as a 
matter of fact, " he did not on that occasion display any heroism, 
but, on the contrary, kept at a respectful distance from gun- 
shot — which was quite a sensible thing for him to do." 

The German Liberal press is still uneasy with respect to the 
arrest of Jacoby. The Chief seems to consider it of great im- 
portance that his view of the affair should not be misunderstood, 
and that it should be generally adopted. The Weser Zeitung 
of the 1 6th instant, which arrived to-day, has an article which 
criticises the Minister's previous declarations on this subject in 
a hostile spirit. It concludes as follows : " To sum up, we must 
hold to our view that Jacoby has been treated unjustly, and 
although we anticipate no fearful consequences from this action, 
we nevertheless regret this episode in the history of a glorious 

The Chief dictated the following reply : — 

"The Weser Zeitung oi the i6th instant heads its columns 
with an article which speaks of the advice forwarded to the 
Konigsberg Magistrates by the Chancellor of the Confederation, 
through the Chief President von Horn, respecting the Jacoby 
affair. Be good enough to permit a few words of explanation 
in connection with that criticism. The remarks of the Weser 
Zeitung refer to two different subjects. The statement of the 
Chancellor in his communication to the Chief President is a 
purely theoretical discussion as to whether action, inadmissible 


in peace, may not be taken by military authorities after war has 
actually broken out. The opinions therein expressed are almost 
the same as those which must have been entertained by the 
Weser Zeitung itself when it remarked, * We can easily conceive 
cases in which we should be prepared with all our hearts to 
grant not only an indemnity but a vote of thanks for the some- 
what illegal arrest of any worthless individual who obstructed 
this holy war.' That is exactly the opinion of the Chancellor. 
If that much were not granted, it would then be impossible on 
an invasion of North German territory to deliver battle on our 
own soil unless some extensive and entirely uninhabited heath 
were discovered and retained for the purpose, and even then the 
proprietor of that piece of ground would be afterwards able to 
claim compensation for the damage done to his property. 

" Either the authorities entrusted with the conduct of the 
military operations must, notwithstanding the actual outbreak 
of hostilities, be bound by the Constitution and the law, or they 
must be held at liberty to take such reasonable measures as 
they consider necessary with a view to the fulfilment of their 
task. Theoretically, this question must be answered with a bare 
affirmative or negative. If it be answered in the negative it is 
hard to say by how many judicial officials every detachment of 
the fighting force on native soil would have to be accompanied, 
and what legal formalities gone through in the case of each sep- 
arate house and person before the military authorities could feel 
that they were constitutionally within their rights in the course 
they desired to adopt. If the question is answered in the af- 
firmative, then it must be recognised that it is impossible to 
codify the regulations governing the discretionary power which 
must be vested in the military commander in war, in such a 
manner that the general or soldier who executes his orders on 
native soil can in every instance refer to the particular para- 
graph of the Constitution or the law justifying his action. 

** The Chancellor of the Confederation cannot possibly have 
had any other intention than to lay down the principles just 
stated theoretically, since, as a Constitutional Prussian Minister 
of State, it is not competent for him to express any opinion as 
to whether the military commander has acted rightly in exercis- 
ing the power vested in him, or as to the extent to which he 
may have exercised it. The military governors, who are ap- 


pointed before the outbreak of war, are neither nominated by 
the Minister nor are they under his control. They are, on the 
contrary, appointed without his concurrence on the authority 
of the Commander-in-Chief, like all other military commanders. 
The Chancellor of the Confederation and the other Ministers of 
State are not the superiors of the military governors, and the 
latter would not obey the directions of the Ministers, but only 
those of the military authorities, which reach them without any 
Ministerial cooperation. 

" It is therefore an entirely unpractical course for those who 
consider themselves unjustly treated under the orders of the 
military authorities to direct their complaints to the Ministers 
of State. They can only demand redress from the military 
superiors of those against whom they enter complaint. It may 
therefore be taken for granted that the Chancellor of the Con- 
federation has not considered himself to be in a position to 
officially express an opinion on the expediency of the course 
adopted in a single instance, such as that of Jacoby, but has, 
on the contrary, merely dealt, from a theoretical standpoint, 
with the question whether, during war and in the interest of 
its successful prosecution, the arrest of individuals whose action 
in the judgment of the military authorities is injurious to us and 
advantageous to the enemy is temporarily permissible. 

" Stated in these general terms, the question can hardly be 
answered in the negative by practical politicians and soldiers, 
although they may entertain many scruples both on theoretical 
and judicial grounds against martial law as a whole. The con- 
crete question, however, whether this right, if it exists, was 
properly exercised in the case of Jacoby, is as much beyond 
the competence of the Ministry as, say, the question whether it 
is necessary or desirable in delivering battle on native soil to 
set a particular village on fire, or to arrest without legal process 
a private person at a distance of fifty miles from the battlefield 
because he is suspected of favouring the enemy. A discussion 
of the means by which the military commander could be ren- 
dered responsible for what the parties concerned may consider a 
false, hasty, or improper course is foreign to our purpose. We 
have merely been at pains to show that the constitutional at- 
tributes of the Ministry do not give it any authority to interfere 
directly in such cases." 


Friday, October 21st. — The heavy firing which began early 
this morning increased as the day wore on. We did not allow 
this to disturb us, however. Various articles were completed, 
including one on the departure of the Nuncio and other diplo- 
mats from Paris. 

At lunch Keudell stated that the French artillery had de- 
stroyed the porcelain factory at Sevres. Hatzfeld told us that 
his mother-in-law, an American lady who had remained in Paris, 
had sent him good news respecting the ponies of which he had 
often spoken to us. They were fine and fat. The question 
was whether she should now eat them. He was about to an- 
swer, " Yes, in God's name ! " but he intended to get the price 
of these animals included in the indemnity to be paid by the 
French Government. 

Between i and 2 o'clock the firing seemed to have ap- 
proached the woods to the north of the town. The artillery 
fire was severe, the reports following each other in rapid succes- 
sion, while the rattle of the mitrailleuse could also be recognised. 
It gave the impression that a regular battle had developed and 
was drawing nearer to us. The Chief ordered his horse to be 
saddled, and rode off. The rest of us also followed in the di- 
rection in which the fight seemed to be raging. We saw the 
familiar white clouds that accompany shell fire rise and burst in 
the air to the left, over the wood through which the road to 
Jardy and Vaucresson leads. Orderlies were galloping along 
the road thither, and a battalion was marching towards the 
point where the engagement was taking place. The fight con- 
tinued until after 4 o'clock, and then one heard only isolated 
discharges from the large fort on Mont Valerien, and finally 
they too ceased. As was only natural, great excitement pre- 
vailed during the afternoon amongst the French in the town, 
and the groups who stood before the houses probably expected 
every moment, as the noise of the firing came nearer and nearer, 
to see our troops in full flight before the red breeches. They 
afterwards drew long faces and shrugged their shoulders. 

In the evening the Chief said we ought not to permit groups 
of people to collect in the streets on the occasion of an engage- 
ment, and that the inhabitants should be ordered in such cir- 
cumstances to remain within doors, the patrols being instructed 
to fire upon those refusing obedience. 

igg FRANCE AND SPAIN [Oct. 22 

Simday, October 22nd. — This has now been done, Voigts- 
Rhetz, the Commandant of Versailles, having issued an order 
to the effect that on the alarm signal being given, all the inhab- 
itants must immediately return to their houses, failing which the 
troops had received instructions to fire upon them. 

The Parisian Prefect of Police, Keratry, has appeared in 
Madrid with the object of submitting two proposals to General 
Prim. The first is that France and Spain should enter into an 
offensive and defensive alliance, under which the latter country 
should send an army of fifty thousand men to the assistance of 
the French. The object of the alliance would be the common 
defence of the nations of the Latin race against the supremacy 
of the Germanic race. On Prim declining this strange offer 
(strange inasmuch as the Spanish support of France, which but 
three months before had in the most arrogant manner forced its 
own policy upon Spain, would be an unexampled piece of self- 
renunciation and a misconception of the clearest interests of the 
Spanish people), the French intermediary asked that at least a 
decree should be issued permitting the importation of arms into 
France. This suggestion was also rejected by Prim. 

The surrender of Metz is expected within the next week. 
Prince Frederick Charles desires, if I rightly understand, capitu- 
lation on the same conditions as at Sedan and Toul, while the 
Chancellor, for political reasons, is in favour of a more con- 
siderate treatment of the garrison. The King seems to hesitate 
between the two courses. 

The Chief said yesterday to the Mayor of Versailles : " No 
elections, no peace. But the gentlemen of Paris will not hear 
of them. The American generals who were in Paris with the 
object of inducing them to hold the elections tell me that there 
is no getting them to consider the matter. Only Trochu said 
they were not yet so hard pressed that they need enter into 
negotiations, — the others would not hear of them, not even of 
submitting the question to the country." " I told him finally," 
said the Minister, " that we should have no alternative but to 
come to an understanding with Napoleon, and to force him back 
upon the French again. He did not believe we would do that, 
as it would be the grossest insult we could offer them. I re- 
plied that it was nevertheless in the interests of the victor to 
leave the defeated nation under a 7'csrime which would have to 


rely solely upon the army. In such circumstances it would be 
impossible to think of foreign wars. In conclusion, I advised 
him not to make the mistake of thinking that Napoleon had no 
hold upon the people. He had the army on his side. Boyer 
had negotiated with me in the name of the Emperor. How far 
the present Government in Paris had the support of the people 
remained to be seen. The rural population could hardly share 
the opinion that peace was not to be thought of. He then gave 
his own view respecting the conditions of peace, namely, the 
razing of their fortresses and ours, and the disarmament of both 
countries in proportion to the population, &c. As I told him at 
the commencement, these people have no right conception of 
what war really is." 

The Nouvelliste being now the only newspaper in Versailles, 
and as it sensibly avoids unnecessarily hurting the patriotic sen- 
timents of the French, the people here take some account of it. 
Lowensohn tells us that the number of copies sold varies, some 
issues have been quite cleared out, while of others he has only 
thirty to fifty, and of yesterday's 150 copies on hand. Up to 
the present his weekly balance shows no loss. 

In the evening wrote an article for the Norddeutsche, in 
which the following ideas are developed. The first condition 
upon which the Chancellor of the Confederation insisted in 
speaking to the various persons who have desired to negotiate 
with him respecting peace was the election of an assembly 
representing the will of France. He addressed the same 
demand to the emissaries of the Republicans and to the 
Imperialists, and to another third party. He desires to grant 
all possible facilities for thus consulting the wishes of the popu- 
lation. The form of government is a matter of entire indiffer- 
ence to us. But we can only deal with a real Government 
recognised by the nation. 

The Nouvelliste will shortly publish the following ideas in a 
French dress : " At the present moment in France, events are 
constantly occurring which are not only opposed to common 
sense, but are frequently an outrage on all moral feeling. 
Former Papal Zouaves, and not alone Frenchmen, serve without 
scruple in the army of a Republic which is governed by Voltair- 
ians. Garibaldi comes to Tours and offers, as he says, what 
remains of his life to the service of France. He can hardly 


have forgotten that this same France, twenty years before, de- 
stroyed the Roman Republic, while the wounds which it inflicted 
upon his country at Mentana must be still fresh in his memory. 
Nor can we have forgotten how his native town of Nice was 
filched from the Italian fatherland by this same France, and 
that it is at the present moment only restrained by a state of 
siege from throwing off the French yoke." 

Delbriick mentioned that during the preliminary negotia- 
tions for the reorganisation of Germany, Bavaria laid claim to 
a kind of joint participation in the representation of the Fed- 
eral State in foreign countries, the Bavarian idea being that 
when the Prussian, or rather the German, Minister or Ambas- 
sador was absent, the Bavarian representative should have the 
conduct of affairs. The Chief said : " No, whatever they like, 
but that is really impossible. The question is not what 
Ambassador we are to have, but what instructions he is to 
receive, and under that arrangement there would be two 
Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Germany." The Count then 
proceeded to further develop this point of view, illustrating it by 

Monday y October 2^th. — Strange news comes from Mar- 
seilles. It appears that the Red Republicans have there gained 
the upper hand. Esquiros, the Prefect of the Mouths of the 
Rhone, belongs to this variety of French Republicans. He 
has suppressed the Gazette du Midi, because the clubs of his 
party maintain that it favours the candidature of the Comte de 
Chambord, whose proclamation it has pubHshed. He has also 
expelled the Jesuits. A decree has been issued by Gambetta, 
declaring the Prefect to be dismissed, and his measures against 
the newspaper mentioned and the Jesuits to be abrogated. 
Esquiros, however, supported by the working classes, has de- 
clined to obey this order of the Government Delegation at 
Tours, and continues to hold his post. The Gazette du Midi 
is still suppressed, and the Jesuits are expelled. Just as little 
heed was paid to Gambetta' s decree disbanding the Civic 
Guard, which was recruited from Red Republicans, and is not 
to be confounded with the Marseilles National Guard. The 
Chief remarked with reference to this news : " It looks as if 
things were tending towards civil war ; and it is possible that 
we may shortly have a Republic of South France." I worked 



up this news into paragraphs, written in the sense of the fore- 
going comment. 

At 4 o'clock M. Gauthier, who comes from Chislehurst, 
called upon the Chancellor. 

Tuesday, October 25///. — This morning the Chief said, in 
reference to a statement in the Pays mentioning an indemnity 
of three and a half milliards : " Nonsense ! I shall demand 
much more than that ! " 

During dinner the subject of " William Tell " was intro- 
duced, I cannot now remember how, and the Minister confessed 
that, even as a boy, he could not endure that character ; first, 
because he shot at his own son, and secondly, because he killed 
Gessler in a treacherous way. " It would have been more 
natural and noble to my mind if, instead of shooting at the 
boy, for after all the best archer might hit him instead of the 
apple, he had immediately shot down the Governor. That 
would have been legitimate wrath provoked by a cruel com- 
mand. But the lurking and skulking is not to my taste. It is 
not the proper style for a hero, not even for franctireurs." 

Two copies of the Nouvelliste are pasted up daily in differ- 
ent parts of the town, and are read by the people, although, 
when a German passes by, the group engaged in perusing them 
greets him with such criticisms as, " Mensonges ! " or ^^Impossi- 
ble ! " One of Stieber's attendant spirits, or some other guar- 
dian of the truth, caught a working man to-day in the act 
of writing the word " Blague " on one of the copies posted up in 
the neighbourhood of the Prefecture. It is said that he is to 
be transported to Germany. 

Wednesday y October 26th. — In the morning I translated 
Granville's despatch for the King, and afterwards prepared an 
abstract of it for the press. The latter was accompanied by 
the remark that we had already twice offered the French 
an armistice on favourable terms, once through Favre, and 
again, on the 9th of October, through Burnside, but that they 
would not accept it because we desired it. Then telegraphed 
to London that Thiers is receiving a safe conduct to our head- 
quarters and permission to proceed thence to Paris. Also that 
the Comte de Chambord had a meeting at Coppet with the 
Comte de Paris. 

In the evening I wrote another article on the instructions 


of the Chief to the following effect. It is rumoured that 
Vienna diplomacy has again taken steps to induce the Ger- 
mans to grant an armistice. We find it difficult to credit this 
report. The only advantage to the French of an armistice at 
the present moment would be to strengthen their resistance 
and to render it more difficult for us to enforce the conditions 
which we recognise as essential. Can that be the object Aus- 
tria has in view in taking this measure.? The following con- 
siderations are of an obvious nature. If the authorities in 
Vienna deprive us of the fruits of our victory, if we are pre- 
vented from securing that safe western frontier which we are 
striving to win, a new war with France is unavoidable, or 
rather the continuation of the one thus interrupted. It is 
quite clear where in such circumstances France would seek 
allies and probably find them. It is equally certain that in 
that case Germany would not wait until the recovery of France 
from her present chaotic condition, which would be promoted 
by a cessation of the war now in progress. Germany would be 
obliged to deal first with this future ally of France and to seek 
to render it powerless, and the latter standing alone would have 
to bear the cost of its own act in preventing us from attaining 
our present object. In other words, it might then happen that 
Austria would have to compensate us by the cession of Bohemia 
for the loss of Lorraine, which it once before alienated from the 
German Empire. 

Friday, October 2^th. — In the afternoon Moltke sent the 
Chief a telegram which reported that the capitulation of Metz 
was signed to-day at 12.45 p-m. The French army thus made 
prisoners number in all 173,000 men, including 16,000 sick and 
wounded. Bennigsen, Friedenthal, and Von Blankenburg, a 
friend of the Chancellor's in his youth, joined us at dinner. 
From the French officers captured at Metz and their approach- 
ing transportation to Germany, the conversation turned upon 
General Ducrot and his disgraceful escape from Pont a Mous- 
son. The Minister said : " He has written me a long letter 
explaining that there is no foundation for the charge of breach 
of faith we have brought against him, but he has not materially 
modified my view of the case." The Chief then related that 
recently an " intermediary of Gambetta's " had called upon him, 
and that towards the close of the conversation he asked whether 


we would recognise the Republic. " I replied," continued the 
Chief, "certainly, without any doubt or hesitation. Not only 
the Republic, but, if you like, a Gambetta dynasty ; only it 
must secure us the advantages of a safe peace." " Or for the 
matter of that any dynasty, whether it be a Bleichroder or a 
Rothschild one." 

The Noiivelliste is to be stopped, and to be replaced by a 
journal of larger size bearing the title, Moniteur Officiel de 
Seine et Oise, which will be published at the expense of the 

Saturday, October 2^tk. — At dinner our great success at 
Metz was discussed. " That exactly doubles the number of our 
prisoners," said the Minister — "no, it does more. We now 
have in Germany the army which Napoleon had in the field at 
the time of the battles of Weissenburg, Worth, and Saar- 
briicken, with the exception of those whom we killed. The 
troops which the French now have were afterwards brought 
from Algiers and Rome, and newly recruited, together with a 
few thousand men under Vincy who made off before Sedan. 
We have also nearly all their generals." The Chief then said 
Napoleon had requested that Marshals Bazaine, Leboeuf, and 
Canrobert, who had been taken at Metz, should be sent to him 
at Wilhelmshohe. The Minister added : " That would make a 
whist party. I have no objection, and shall recommend the 
King to do so." He then went on to say that so many extraor- 
dinary events which no one could have imagined previously 
were now of daily occurrence that one might regard the most 
wonderful as being within the range of possibility. " Amongst 
other things it might well happen that we should hold a Ger- 
man Reichstag in Versailles, while Napoleon might summon 
the Legislative Chamber and the Senate to Cassel to consider 
the terms of peace. Napoleon is convinced that the former 
representative body is still legally in existence, an opinion 
against which there is little to be said, and that he could sum- 
mon it to meet wherever he liked — of course, however, only 
in France. Cassel would be a debatable question." The Chief 
then said that he had invited the representatives of the parties 
" with whom it is possible to discuss matters " — Friedenthal, 
Bennigsen, and Blankenburg — to come here in order to ascer- 
tain their views respecting a session of our Parliament at 


Versailles. " I was obliged to omit the Progressist party, as 
they only desire what is not possible. They are like Russians, 
who eat cherries in winter and want oysters in summer. When 
a Russian goes into a shop he asks for Kaknje bud^ that is to 
say, for what does not exist." 

After the first course Prince Albrecht, the father, came in 
and took a seat on the Chief's right. The old gentleman, like 
a genuine Prussian Prince always gallant and loyal to his duty, 
has pressed forward with his cavalry beyond Orleans. He tells 
us that the engagement in Chateaudun was "horrible." He 
warmly praised the Duke of Meiningen, who had also shirked 
no danger or privation. On this the Chief remarked : " I have 
nothing to say against Princes who go with the army and as 
officers and leaders share the dangers and hardships of the 
soldiers. But I should prefer to see those who loaf around 
here at Piickler's expense, and who are mere spectators of the 
man-hunt, anywhere rather than at headquarters. It is all the 
more unpleasant to me to have them here, as they storm me 
with questions and force wise counsels upon me respecting 
matters that are in course of development and which are now 
being worked out." ... " May I ask," said the Prince (doubt- 
less to get away from this subject), " how the Countess is } " 
" Oh, she is quite well," replied the Chief, " now that our son 
is better. She still suffers from her ferocious hatred of the 
Gauls, all of whom she would wish to see shot and stabbed to 
death, down to the little babies — who after all cannot help 
having such abominable parents." 




On the morning of the 30th of October, while taking a walk 
along the Avenue de Saint Cloud, I met Bennigsen, who was 
to start for home with Blankenburg in a few days. On my 
asking what progress had been made in Germany with the 
question of unity, he said that the prospects were very good. 
The only point which the Bavarians still insisted upon was a 
certain degree of independence for their army. The feeling 
amongst the majority of the people was all that could be desired. 

On my return to the house a little after 10 o'clock Engel 
told me that Thiers had arrived shortly before but had left 
again almost immediately. He had come from Tours, and had 
only called to get a safe conduct through our lines, as he wished 
to go to Paris. Hatzfeld had breakfasted with Thiers at the 
H6tel des Reservoirs, and afterward saw him into the carriage, 
in which, accompanied by Lieutenant von Winterfeldt, he was 
conducted to the French outposts. He told us at lunch that 
Thiers "still remained the same bright witty old gentleman, 
but was weak as a baby." Hatzfeld had been the first to recog- 
nise him on his calling at our place, and told him that the Chief 
was just getting up. He then showed him into the salon, and 
informed the Minister, who hastily finished his toilet and shortly 
afterwards came down. They were, however, only together 
alone for a few minutes, the Chief then instructing Hatzfeld 
to make the necessary preparations for Thiers' visit to Paris. 
The Minister afterwards told Hatzfeld that Thiers said to him, 
immediately after they had exchanged greetings, that he had 
not come to speak to him. "That strikes me as quite natural," 
added Hatzfeld, "as, although Thiers would like to conclude 
peace with us (just because it would be Thiers' peace, since he 
is terribly ambitious), he does not know what the people in Paris 
would say to it." 



In the meantime the Chief had ridden off with his cousin to 
the review of 9,000 Landwehr Guards which was being held 
this morning by the King. At luncheon the Chief referred to 
the Landwehr, who had arrived, that morning, and said they 
were all broad-shouldered fellows, who must have impressed 
the people of Versailles. " The front of one of their companies 
is at least five feet broader than that of a French company, par- 
ticularly in the Pomeranian Landwehr." The Minister then 
turned to Hatzfeld, and said : " I hope you have not mentioned 
anything about Metz to Thiers." "No, and he also said noth- 
ing about it, although there is no doubt that he knows." " He 
certainly does, but I did not speak about it either." Hatzfeld 
then observed once more that Thiers was very charming in his 
manner, but had lost nothing of his old vanity and self-com- 
placency. As evidence of this Hatzfeld mentioned that Thiers 
had told him that a few days before he met a peasant whom he 
asked whether he desired to see peace concluded. " Certainly, 
very much." " Whether he knew who he (Thiers) was.-*" No, 
the peasant replied, and appealed to a neighbour who had come 
on the scene, and who passed as the oldest inhabitant. This 
ancient was of opinion that M. Thiers must be a member of the 
Chamber. Hatzfeld added, " It was obvious that Thiers was 
angry at not being better known." 

The Chief went out for a moment, and brought back a case 
containing a gold pen, which a jeweller of Pforzheim presented 
to him for the purpose of signing the Treaty of Peace. 

At dinner the Chief again spoke at some length of the pos- 
sibility of holding a session of the German Reichstag at Ver- 
sailles, while the French Legislative Chamber should at the 
same time meet at Cassel. Delbruck observed that the hall of 
the Diet at Cassel would not be large enough for such an 
assembly. "Well, then," said the Chief, "the Senate could meet 
somewhere else — in Marburg or Fritzlar, or some similar town." 

Mo7tday, October 315-/. — In the morning wrote some articles, 
one of which advocated the idea of an international court for 
the trial of those who had instigated this war against us. Also 
directed attention to the case of M. Hermieux, the Comman- 
dant of a French battalion, who like Ducrot had broken his 
word by making his escape from hospital, and whose descrip- 
tion was now published in the newspapers. 


Gauthier called again at 12 o'clock, and had another long 
interview with the Chief. 

Hatzfeld announced at tea that on paying a visit early in 
the evening at the H6tel des Reservoirs he learned by accident 
that M. Thiers had returned, and he had afterwards spoken to 
him. Thiers informed him that on the day before he had been 
engaged from 10 o'clock at night until 3 in the morning in 
negotiating with the members of the Provisional Government ; 
he rose again at 6 a.m. and from that time until 2 in the after- 
noon received visitors of all descriptions, after which he drove 
back here. He wishes to have a conference with the Chan- 
cellor to-morrow. " He began to speak of disturbances having 
taken place yesterday in Paris," continued Hatzfeld, " but on 
an exclamation of surprise escaping me he immediately changed 
the subject." 

In the evening I was instructed to see that the decree 
addressed to Vogel von Falkenstein, and published in the 
Staatsanzeiger of the 27th instant, was reproduced by our other 
papers. It was to be accompanied by a collection of newspaper 
reports respecting the ill-treatment of German prisoners by the 
French. I then began a second article against Beust's interven- 
tion in our quarrel with the French, based on the suggestions of 
the Chief, who said it was to be " very sharply worded." This, 
however, was not sent off, as the situation altered in the mean- 
time. I reproduce the article here as being characteristic of the 
position of affairs at the moment. It ran as follows : — 

" If in a struggle between two Powers, one of whom proves 
obviously weaker and is at length on the point of being 
defeated, a third Power, which has hitherto been neutral, urges 
an armistice, its motive must certainly be regarded less as 
a benevolent desire for the welfare of both parties than as 
anxiety for the weaker State and as evident partisanship in 
favour of the same. It is, in fact, an armistice in favour of the 
Power that is on the point of being defeated, and to the dis- 
advantage of that which has won the upper hand. If this third 
Power furthermore endeavours to induce other neutral States 
to take similar action, thus strengthening and giving more 
weight to its own proposal, then it is clearly departing still 
further from a neutral attitude. Its one-sided warnings are 
transformed into partisan pressure, its proceedings become 


intrigues, and its whole action presents an appearance of 
threatened violence. 

" This is the case with Austria- Hungary if it be true, as the 
Vienna official organs boast, that it has taken the initiative in an 
attempt of the neutral Powers to negotiate an armistice between 
defeated France and victorious Germany. The conduct of 
Count Beust becomes more clearly offensive when it is known 
that it was suggested by M. Chaudordy, Favre's representative 
at Tours, and originated in a previous understanding between 
the Vienna Cabinet and the Delegation of the Provisional 
Government in that city. The true character of this action on 
the part of Austro-Hungarian diplomacy as a hostile interfer- 
ence in our settlement with France becomes more manifest 
from the manner in which its representative in Berlin supports 
the English suggestions. The British Foreign Office adopts 
a tone of perfect impartiality, and of benevolence towards Ger- 
many; the Italians do the same, while the Russian representa- 
tive has kept entirely aloof from all intervention. All three 
Powers have done their utmost at Tours to promote an unpreju- 
diced and reasonable view of the situation on the part of the 
French. On the other hand, the despatches read by Herr von 
Wimpffen in Berlin (we do not know what Austria-Hungary 
has advised at Tours) speak in a tone which is anything but 
friendly. They emphasise the statement that Vienna still 
believes in general European interests. The authorities there 
fear that history would condemn the neutral Powers if the ca- 
tastrophe which is threatening Paris were to occur without a 
voice being raised on their part to avert it. It is evidently 
intended as a severe and offensive censure when they say 
humanity demands that the conditions of peace should be made 
less onerous for the vanquished, but that Germany will not per- 
mit any voice to reach the ears of its defeated foe except that 
which proclaims the commands of the victor. The whole de- 
spatch is characterised throughout by a vein of irony which dis- 
tinguishes it in a manner little to its advantage from that of the 
English Government. 

" From all these circumstances it is as clear that the action 
of Count Beust is guided by hostile intentions towards us as 
that Lord Granville's attitude is based on good will. We 
wonder if the Vienna Chancellor well considered the possible 


consequences of this new manoeuvre. It is not probable after 
the fall of Metz that the attempt made by Austria to hinder 
Germany in the complete attainment of that peace which we 
have in view with the object of securing a safe Western frontier 
will be successful. But we shall remember that attempts to 
prejudice our interests and the good impression made in Ger- 
many by the previous neutrality of Austria-Hungary will be 
destroyed, and a friendly rapprochement with the dual monarchy, 
a basis for which was being laid, will be postponed — probably 
for a considerable time. But let us consider another possibility. 
Take it that through the intervention of Count Beust the de- 
mands which we make upon France are curtailed, and that we 
are actually obliged to renounce a portion of the old and new 
debts which we are on the point of collecting — does the Chan- 
cellor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire believe that we shall 
not remember at the first opportunity to make our ill-disposed 
neighbour on the South-East compensate us for what he helped 
to deprive us of in the West } Does he believe that we shall 
foolishly put off the day of reckoning with a neighbour who 
takes every opportunity of displaying his hostility, until his 
French proUg^ has recovered sufficiently to give him the sup- 
port of a more valuable alliance in gratitude for the assistance 
given against Germany } " 

Tuesday y November \st. — At dinner Bohlen reported that 
the Coburger is doing his utmost to create a feeling of dis- 
content — he says nothing happens, nothing is being done, no 
progress is being made. " What ! He ! " exclaimed the Chief, 
with an indescribable expression of contempt on his features. 
" He should be ashamed of himself. These Princes that follow 
the army like a flight of vultures ! These carrion crows, who 
themselves do nothing whatever except inspect the battlefields, 
&c." Some one then spoke of the last engagement, and said 
that a portion of the 1200 prisoners that had been taken were 
franctireurs. " Prisoners ! " broke in the Chief, who still seemed 
to be extremely angry. "Why do they continue to make 
prisoners? They should have shot down the whole 1200 one 
after the other." 

Mention was made of the decree of the Minister of War or 
of the Commandant of the Town, ordering that particulars 
should be published of all valuables found in houses deserted 

VOL. I. — P 


by their owners, and that if not reclaimed within a certain time 
they were to be confiscated for the benefit of the war chest. 
The Minister said that he considered this decree to be perfectly 
justified, adding : " As a matter of fact such houses should be 
burned to the ground, only that punishment would also fall in 
part on the sensible people who have remained behind ; and 
so unfortunately it is out of the question." The Chief then 
observed, after a pause, and apparently without any connection 
with what had been previously said : " After all, war is, properly 
speaking, the natural condition of humanity." He remained 
silent for a while, and then remarked: "It just occurs to me 
that the Bavarian proposes to surprise me to-day," by which he 
meant that Count Bray was about to visit him. This led the 
conversation to the Bavarian Ambassador in Berlin, Pergler von 
Perglas, of whom the Chief does not appear to have a high 
opinion. "He is as bad as he can be. I do not say that 
because he is a particularist, as I do not know how I should 
think myself if I were a Bavarian. But he has always been in 
favour of the French." (The Minister maintained, if I heard 
him rightly, that this was owing to his wife.) " I never tell him 
anything when he comes to me, or at least not the truth." 

Shortly afterwards the Chief told us that Thiers had been 
with him for about three hours to-day with the object of nego- 
tiating an armistice. Probably, however, it would not be pos- 
sible to come to an understanding as to the conditions which he 
proposes or is prepared to grant. Once during the conversa- 
tion Thiers wished to speak of the supply of provisions now in 
Paris ; but the Minister interrupted him, saying, " Excuse me, 
but we know that better than you who have only been in the 
city for one day. Their store of provisions is sufficient to last 
until the end of January." " What a look of surprise he gave 
me ! My remark was only a feeler, and his astonishment 
showed that what I had said was not true." 

At dessert the Minister spoke of the large quantity he had 
eaten. " But then it is my only meal. It is true I take break- 
fast, but then it is merely a cup of tea without milk and two 
^ggs, — and after that nothing till evening. Then I overeat 
myself, like a boa constrictor, and can't sleep. Even as a child, 
and ever since that time, I have always gone to bed late, never 
before midnight. I usually fall asleep quickly, but wake soon 


again and find that it is not more than half-past one o'clock. 
All sorts of things then come into my head, particularly if I 
have been unfairly treated, — and that must be all thought out. 
I afterwards write letters, and even despatches, but of course 
without getting up — simply in my head. Formerly, for some 
time after my appointment as Minister, I used to get up and 
actually write them down. When I read them over next morn- 
ing, however, they were worth nothing, — mere platitudes, con- 
fused trivial stuff such as might have appeared in the Vossische 
Zeitung^ or might have been composed by his Serene Highness 
of Weimar. I do not want to, I should prefer to sleep. But 
the thinking and planning goes on. At the first glimmer of 
dawn I fall off again, and then sleep till ten o'clock or even 

Wednesday^ November 2nd. — On returning from a long 
walk at about 4.30 p.m. I heard that Thiers had remained with 
the Chief until a few minutes before, and looked rather pleased 
on taking his leave. During dinner the Minister observed, 
referring to his visitor of to-day : "He is a clever and amiable 
man, bright and witty, but with scarcely a trace of the diplo- 
matist — too sentimental for that trade." "He is unques- 
tionably a finer nature than Favre. But he is no good as a 
negotiator ( Unterhdndler) — not even as a horsedealer (^Pferde- 
hdndlery " He is too easily bluffed, betrays his feelings, and 
allows himself to be pumped. Thus I have ascertained all sorts 
of things from him, amongst others that they have only full 
rations in Paris for three or four weeks." 

With respect to our attitude towards the approaching 
French elections, I called attention in the press to the follow- 
ing example, which may decide us to exclude Alsace-Lorraine 
from the voting, and to which we can refer those who allege 
such an exclusion to be unprecedented. An American informs 
us that in the last war between the United States and Mexico 
an armistice was agreed upon with the object of giving the 
Mexicans time to choose a new Government, which should con- 
clude peace with the United States. The provinces, the ces- 
sion of which was demanded by the United States, were not 
permitted to take part in this election. This is the sole prece- 
dent, but it entirely covers the present case. 

Thursday, November ird. — A fine bright morning. Al- 


ready at 7 a.m. the iron lions on Mont Valerien began to fill 
the surrounding wooded valleys with their roaring. 

I make abstracts for the King of two articles that appeared 
in the Morning Post of the 28th and 29th of October, which 
are understood to have come from Persigny or Prince Napo- 
leon. The assertion in these articles that in the negotiations 
with the delegate of the Empress our demand extended only to 
Strasburg, and a narrow strip of land in the Saar district, with 
about a quarter of a million inhabitants, is (the Chief tells me) 
based on a misunderstanding. 

I am instructed to telegraph that in consequence of yester- 
day's negotiations the Chancellor has offered M. Thiers a truce 
of twenty-five days on the basis of the military status quo. 
Thiers returned at 12 o'clock, and negotiated with the Chief 
until 2.30 P.M. The demands of the French are exorbitant. 
At lunch we hear that in addition to a twenty-eight days' armis- 
tice for the elections and the meeting of the National Assembly 
thus chosen to determine the position of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment, they demand nothing less than the right to provision 
Paris and all other fortresses held by them and besieged by us, 
and the participation of the Eastern provinces, of which we 
require the cession in the elections. Ordinary logic finds it 
difficult to conceive how the provisioning of fortresses can be 
deemed consistent with the maintenance of the military status 

Amongst other subjects discussed at dinner were the elec- 
tions in Berlin. Delbriick was of opinion that they would be 
more favourable than hitherto. Jacoby, at any rate, would not 
be reelected. Count Bismarck-Bohlen thought otherwise. He 
anticipated no change. The Chancellor said: — "The Berliners 
must always be in opposition and have their own ideas. They 
have their virtues — many and highly estimable ones — they 
fight well, but they would not consider themselves to be as 
clever as they ought to be unless they knew everything better 
than the Government." That failing, however, was not con- 
fined to Berliners, the Chief added. All great cities were much 
the same in that respect, and many were even worse than Ber- 
lin. They were in general more unpractical than the rural 
districts, where people were in closer contact with nature 
and thus got into a more natural and practical way of 


thinking. "Where great numbers of men are crowded to- 
gether they easily lose their individuality and dissolve into one 
mass. All sorts of opinions are in the air, they arise from hear- 
say and repetition, and are little or not at all founded on facts, 
but are propagated by the newspapers, popular meetings, and 
conversations over beer, and then remain firmly, immutably 
rooted. It is a sort of false second nature, a faith or supersti- 
tion held collectively by the masses. They reason themselves 
into believing in something that does not exist, consider them- 
selves in duty bound to hold to that belief, and wax enthusiastic 
over narrow-minded and grotesque ideas. That is the case in 
all great cities, in London for instance, where the cockneys are 
quite a different race to other Englishmen — in Copenhagen, in 
New York, and above all in Paris. The Parisians, with their 
political superstitions, are quite a distinct people in France, — 
they are caught and bound up in a circle of ideas which are a 
sacred tradition to them, although when closely examined they 
turn out to be mere empty phrases." 

So far as Thiers was concerned, the Minister only told us 
that shortly after the commencement of their conference to-day 
he suddenly asked him whether he had obtained the authority 
necessary for the continuance of the negotiations. " He looked 
at me in astonishment, on which I said that news had been 
received at our outposts of a revolution having broken out in 
Paris since his departure, and that a new Government had been 
proclaimed. He was visibly perturbed, from which it may be 
inferred that he considers a victory of the Red Republicans as 
possible, and the position of Favre and Trochu as insecure." 

Thiers was again with the Chief from 9 o'clock till after 10. 

Friday^ November ^th. — Beautiful bright morning. At the 
desire of the Minister I send the Daily Nezvs an account of his 
conversation with Napoleon at Donchery. He had principally 
conversed with the Emperor within the weaver's house, upstairs 
— for about three-quarters of an hour — and spent but a short 
time with him in the open air, as the Minister himself stated in his 
official report to the King. Furthermore, in speaking to Napo- 
leon, he had not pointed the forefinger of the left hand into 
the palm of his right, which was not at all a habit of his. He 
had not once made use of the German language in speaking to 
the Emperor — he had never done so, and also not on that 


occasion. " I did, however," the Minister continued, " speak 
German to the people of the house, as the man understood a 
little and the woman spoke it very well." 

From 1 1 o'clock onwards Thiers conferred once more with 
the Chancellor. He yesterday sent his companion, a M. 
Cochery, back to Paris, to ascertain if the Government of the 
4th of September still existed. The answer appears to have 
been in the affirmative. 

Bamberger dined with us. The Chief said, amongst other 
things : — "I see that some newspapers hold me responsible 
that Paris has not yet been bombarded. I do not want any- 
thing serious to be done, I object to a bombardment. Nonsense ! 
They will ultimately make me responsible for our losses during 
the siege, which are certainly already considerable, as we have 
probably lost more men in these small engagements than a 
general attack would have cost us. I wanted the city to be 
stormed at once, and have all along desired that it be done — 
or it would have been still better to have left Paris on one side 
and continued our march." 

Thiers was once more with the Chief from 9 p.m. until after 
II o'clock. While they were conferring a telegram arrived 
announcing that Beust has abandoned his former attitude in 
so far as he declares that if Russia raises objections to the 
Prussian demands upon France, Austria will do the same, 
but otherwise not. This telegram was at once sent in to the Chief. 

Saturday, November <^th. — About one o'clock there was a 
short conference between the Chancellor, Delbriick, and other 
German Ministers. We afterwards ascertained that the Chief 
reported the result of his negotiations with Thiers, and also 
announced the impending arrival of the German sovereigns not 
yet represented at Versailles. 

On our sitting down to dinner Delbriick was at first the 
only Minister present. Later on we were joined by the Chan- 
cellor, who had dined with the King. While Engel was pour- 
ing him out a glass of spirits the Chief recalled a pretty dictum. 
Recently a General (if I am not mistaken it was at Ferri^res, 
and I fancy I heard the name of the great thinker, Moltke), 
speaking of the various beverages of mankind, laid down the 
following principle : — " Red wine for children, champagne for 
men, and brandy for generals." 



The Chancellor, who had been dining with the King, joined 
us in the evening and complained to Delbrtick of the way in 
which he had been beset at the King's quarters by the Princes, 
who prevented him from discussing something of importance 
with Kutusoff. ** I really could not talk to him properly. The 
Serene Highnesses fluttered about me like crows round a 
screech-owl, and tore me away from him. Each of them seemed 
to delight in being able to buttonhole me longer than the others. 
At length I asked Prince Charles if he could not get his brother- 
in-law to wait until I had finished what I had to say to Kutu- 
soff, as it was an important matter of State. But although I 
have often spoken to him previously in the same sense he did 
not seem to understand me, and the end of it was that he took 
offence." ... "At last they heard that the leg or the back of 
the old coronation chair had been discovered in one of the 
other rooms, and they all trooped off to inspect the wonder, 
while I took this opportunity to bolt." At that moment a 
despatch was delivered stating that Favre and the other mem- 
bers of the Government in Paris had once more got on the high 
horse, and proclaimed that they would not hear of a cession of 
territory, and that their sole task was the defence of the father- 
land. The Chief observed : — " Well, then, we need not nego- 
tiate any further with Thiers." 

Later on the Minister said that Thiers probably still intended 
to write another historical work. **Time after time he spins 
out our negotiation by introducing irrelevant matters. He re- 
lates what has occurred or been advised here and there, inquires 
as to the attitude of this or that person, and what would have 
happened in such and such circumstances. He reminded me of 
a conversation I had with the Due de Bauffremont in the year 
1867, in the course of which I said that in 1866 the Emperor 
had not understood how to take advantage of the situation, that 
he could have done a good stroke of business although not on 
German soil, &c. Roughly that is quite correct. I remember 
it very well. It was in the gardens of the Tuileries, and a mili- 
tary band was playing. In the summer of 1866 Napoleon 
lacked courage to do what he ought to have done from his 
point of view. When we attacked Austria he should have 

occupied the object of the Benedetti proposal, and held it 

as a pledge. We could not have prevented him at that time, 


and most probably England would not have stirred — in any 
case he could have waited. If the coup succeeded he might 
have placed himself back to back with us, encouraging us to 
further aggression. But (turning to Delbriick, first leaning a 
little forward and then sitting straight upright, a habit of his 
on such occasions) he is and remains a muddle-headed fellow." 

Thiers, after having had a conversation with Favre and 
Ducrot on the bridge of Sevres, returned and had another con- 
ference with the Chief which lasted from 8.30 to 9.30. Favre 
and Ducrot had declared that our conditions for an armistice 
could not be accepted, but that they would ascertain the opin- 
ions of their colleagues, and bring Thiers a definite answer 

Sunday, November 6th. — The Chief read to us at dinner a 
portion of his wife's letter, which was to the following effect : — 
" I fear you will not be able to find a Bible in France, and so I 
shall shortly send you the Psalms in order that you may read 
the prophecies against the French — * I tell thee, the godless 
shall be destroyed ! ' " The Minister had also received a " de- 
spairing letter " from Count Herbert, whose wound was now 
healed, because he had been transferred to a dep6t. ** He says 
that all he has had out of the whole war has been a fortnight's 
ride with his regiment and then three months on his back. I 
wished to see whether anything could be done, and to-day I met 
the Minister of War. He dissuaded me, however, with tears in 
his eyes — he had once interfered in a similar way and lost his 
son in consequence." 

Monday y November Jth. — Early in the morning the Chief 
instructs me to telegraph to London : — "In the negotiations 
with M. Thiers, which lasted for five days, he was offered an 
armistice of any duration up to twenty-eight days on the 
basis of the military status quo, for the purpose of holding 
elections, which should also be allowed to take place in the 
portions of France occupied by the German troops ; or as an 
alternative, our assistance and sanction for holding the elections 
without a truce. After a renewed conference with the Paris 
Government at the outposts, M. Thiers was not authorised to 
accept either of these offers. He demanded first of all permis- 
sion to provision Paris, without offering any military equivalent. 
As this proposal could not be accepted by the Germans on mill- 



tary grounds, M. Thiers yesterday received instructions from 
Paris to break off the negotiations." 

The following particulars have been ascertained from other 
sources : — The instruction referred to was received by Thiers 
in the form of a curt letter from Favre desiring him to return 
to Tours, whither he has gone, to-day. The Chancellor tells 
me that Thiers was very depressed at the foolish obstinacy of 
the Paris Government, of which both he himself and several of 
the Ministers disapprove. Favre and Picard, particularly the 
latter, are desirous of peace but are too weak to withstand the 
opposition of the others. Gambetta and Trochu will not hear of 
the elections, which would in all probability put an end to their 

I write articles to the following effect : — We were prepared 
to do everything possible, but all our concessions were rejected 
owing to the ambition of MM. Favre and Trochu, who do not 
want to be forced by the true representatives of the French peo- 
ple to give up the power which fell into their hands through an 
insurrection. It is that ambition alone which prolongs the war. 
We, on the other hand, have shown that we desire peace, by 
carrying our complaisance to the utmost point. 

The postponement of the bombardment was again discussed 
at dinner. The Chancellor said he could not understand the 
absurd rumour circulated in the newspapers to the effect that he 
was opposed to the bombardment while the military authorities 
were pressing for it. " Exactly the contrary is the case. No one 
is more urgent in favour of it than I am, and it is the military 
authorities who hesitate. A great deal of my correspondence 
is taken up in dispelling the scruples and excessive circum- 
spection of the military people. It appears that the artillery 
are constantly requiring more time for preparation and particu- 
larly a larger supply of ammunition. At Strasburg, they also 
asked for much more than was necessary, as notwithstanding 
the foolish waste of powder and shell, two-thirds of the supply 
collected was never used." Alten objected that even if the 
forts in question were captured they would be then subjected to 
the fire from the enciente, and we should have to begin over 
again. "That may be," said the Minister, "but they ought to 
have known that sooner, as there was no fortress we knew so 
much about from the commencement as Paris." 


Somebody remarked that in the two balloons that had been 
seized five persons had been taken prisoners. The Chief con- 
sidered that they ought to be treated as spies without any 
lengthy deliberation. Alten said they would be brought up be- 
fore a court-martial, whereupon the Minister exclaimed, " Well, 
nothing will happen to them there ! " He then observed how 
stout and strong Count Bill was. At his age he himself was 
slight and thin. "At Gottingen I was as thin as a knitting- 
needle." Mention having been made of the circumstance that 
the sentry posted outside the villa occupied by the Crown Prince 
had been shot at and wounded the night before, and that the 
town would be obliged to pay him five thousand francs as com- 
pensation, the Chief said that in going out in the evening he 
would not take his sword but rather a revolver — ** as although 
in certain circumstances I should be quite willing to let myself 
be murdered, I should not like to die unavenged." 

After dinner I was instructed by the Chancellor to again 
telegraph an account of the negotiations with Thiers, only in 
a somewhat different form. On my venturing to observe that 
the contents of the despatch had been telegraphed in the 
morning, he replied, "Not quite accurately; you see here 
* Count Bismarck proposed,' &c. You must notice such fine 
shades if you want to work in the first Foreign Office of the 

Tuesday^ November Stk. — In the morning I sent off a tele- 
gram stating that the prisoners taken in the balloons have been 
transported to a Prussian fortress in order to be tried there by 
court-martial. Furthermore that the confiscated letters com- 
promised diplomats and other personages who have been per- 
mitted to remain in communication with the outer world out of 
consideration for their position and sense of honour. Such 
communication would no longer be tolerated. 

At about 12.30 P.M., while we were at lunch, the Chief re- 
ceived a visit from Archbishop Ledochowski of Posen, and it 
was understood that his business was to submit an offer of the 
Pope to intervene with the French Government. They proba- 
bly hope in this way to purchase the intervention of the German 
Government on behalf of the Holy Father. The Archbishop 
remained till nearly 3 o'clock, and on his leaving the Chief went 
to see the King. He subsequently took dinner at the Crown 



Prince's, where the Grand Duke of Baden, who had arrived in 
the meantime, also dined. 

Delbruck, General Chauvin, and Colonel Meidam, the officer 
in command of the Field Telegraph, were the Chief's guests at 
dinner. Mention was made of the improper use of the telegraph 
wire by distinguished personages for their private purposes. 

After a while the Chancellor remarked : — "I hear that the 
Augustenburger also telegraphs. That really should not be. 
Nor has the Coburger any right to do so. The telegraph is for 
military and diplomatic purposes and not for minor potentates to 
use for inquiries respecting their kitchens, stables, and theatres. 
None of them has any rights here. Their rights ceased on 
passing the German frontier." 

On some one referring to the destruction of the telegraph 
wires and other similar misconduct on the part of franctireurs 
and peasants near Epernay, the Minister said : — ** They should 
have immediately sent three or four battalions there, and trans- 
ported six thousand peasants to Germany until the conclusion 
of the war." 

Amongst other subjects discussed at tea was the rumour 
that the postponement of the bombardment was in part due to 
the influence of ladies, the Queen and the Crown Princess being 
mentioned in this connection. The Chief was in the drawing- 
room engaged in conference with the Bavarian General von 
Bothmer on the military question in connection with the closer 
unification of Germany now in progress. The Minister joined 
us afterwards, remaining for about an hour. On sitting down 
he breathed a deep sigh and said : — "I was thinking just now, 
what I have indeed often thought before — If I could only for 
five minutes have the power to say : * That must be done thus 
and in no other way ! * — If one were only not compelled to 
pother about the * why ' and the * wherefore,' and to argue and 
plead for the simplest things ! — Things made much more rapid 
progress under men like Frederick the Great, who were generals 
themselves and also knew something about administration, act- 
ing as their own Ministers. It was the same with Napoleon. 
But here, this eternal talking and begging ! " 

After a while the Chief said, with a laugh : — "I have been 
busy to-day educating Princes." 

** How so. Excellency ? " asked Hatzfeld. 


" Well, I have explained to various gentlemen at the Hotel 
des Reservoirs what is and what is not proper. I have given 
the Meininger to understand through Stein that he is not to be 
allowed to use the Field Telegraph for giving instructions about 
his kitchen garden and theatre. And the Coburger is still worse. 
Never mind, the Reichstag will set that right and put a stop to 
all that kind of thing. But only I shall not be there." 

Hatzfeld asked : — " Has your Excellency seen that the 
Italians have broken into the Quirinal ? " 

"Yes, and I am curious to know what the Pope will now do. 
Leave the country ? But where can he go .-* He has already 
requested us to ask the Italians whether he would be allowed 
to leave and with fitting dignity. We did so, and they replied 
that the utmost respect would be paid to his position, and that 
their attitude would be governed by that determination in case 
he desired to depart." 

"They would not like to see him go," added Hatzfeld; "it 
is in their interests that he should remain in Rome." 

The Chief : — " Yes, certainly. But perhaps he may be 
obliged to leave. But where could he go? Not to France, 
because Garibaldi is there. He would not like to go to Austria. 
To Spain } I suggested to him Bavaria." The Minister then 
reflected for a moment, after which he continued : — " There 
remains nothing for him but Belgium or North Germany. As a 
matter of fact, he has already asked whether we could grant him 
asylum. I have no objection to it — Cologne or Fulda. It 
would be passing strange, but after all not so very inexplicable, 
and it would be very useful to us to be recognised by Catholics 
as what we really are, that is to say, the sole power now existing 
that is capable of protecting the head of their Church. Stofflet 
and Charette, together with their Zouaves, could then go about 
their business. We should have the Poles on our side. The 
opposition of the Ultramontanes would cease in Belgium and 
Bavaria. Malinkrott would come over to the Government side. 
But the King will not consent. He is terribly afraid. He 
thinks all Prussia would be perverted and he himself would 
be obliged to become a Catholic. I told him, however, that 
if the Pope begged for asylum he could not refuse it. He 
would have to grant it as ruler over ten million Catholic sub- 
jects who would desire to see the head of their Church pro- 



tected. Besides, imaginative people, particularly women, may 
possibly feel drawn towards Catholicism by the pomp and ritual 
of St. Peter's, with the Pope seated upon his throne and be- 
stowing his benediction. The danger would not be so great, 
however, in Germany, where the people would see the Pope 
amongst them as a poor old man seeking assistance — a good 
old gentleman, one of the Bishops, who ate and drank like the 
rest, took his pinch of snuff, and even perhaps smoked a cigar. 
And after all even if a few people in Germany became Catholic 
again (I should certainly not do so), it would not matter much so 
long as they remained believing Christians. The particular sect 
is of no consequence, only the faith. People ought to be more 
tolerant in their way of thinking." The Chief then dilated on 
the comic aspect of this migration of the Pope and his Cardinals 
to Fulda, and concluded : — "Of course the King could not see 
the humorous side of the affair. But (smiling) if only the Pope 
remains true to me, I shall know how to bring his Majesty 

Some other subjects then came up. Hatzfeld mentioned 
that his Highness of Coburg had fallen from his horse. 
" Happily, however, without being hurt," hastily added Abeken, 
with a pleased expression. This led the Chief to speak of 
similar accidents that had happened to himself. 

" I believe I shall be more than within the mark in saying 
that I must have fallen from horseback fifty times. It is noth- 
ing to be thrown from your horse, but when the horse lies on 
top of you, then it's a bad case. The last time was at Varzin, 
when I broke three ribs. I thought it was all up with me. It 
was not, however, so dangerous as it seemed, but it was terribly 
painful. . . . But as a young man I had a remarkable accident, 
which shows how our thinking powers are dependent upon the 
brain. I was riding home one evening with my brother, and 
we were both galloping as hard as our horses could go. Sud- 
denly my brother, who was in front, heard a fearful bang. It 
was my head that had struck against the road. My horse had 
shied at a lantern in a cart coming in the opposite direction, and 
reared so that he fell backwards, and I tumbled on my head. 
At first I lost consciousness, and on returning to my senses my 
power of thinking remained on some points quite clear, but had 
quite deserted me on others. I examined my horse and found 

222 A STRANGE CASE [Nov. lo 

that the saddle was broken, so I called the groom and rode 
home on his horse. When the dogs there barked at me by way 
of greeting, I thought they did not belong to us, got cross with 
them, and drove them away. Then I said the groom had fallen 
from his horse and they should send a stretcher to bring him in ; 
and I got very angry when, taking their cue from my brother, 
they showed no disposition to move. Were they going to leave 
the unfortunate man lying in the road } I did not know that I 
was myself and was at home, or rather I was both myself and 
the groom. I asked for something to eat and afterwards went 
to bed. After having slept through the night I woke up next 
morning all right again. It was a strange case. I had exam- 
ined the saddle, taken another horse, and so forth. I had done 
everything that was practically required. In that respect the 
fall had produced no confusion in my ideas. A singular exam- 
ple which shows that the brain harbours various intellectual 
powers — only one of these had remained stupefied by my fall 
for a somewhat longer time. 

" I well remember another incident of the kind. I was rid- 
ing rapidly through some young timber in a large wood a consid- 
erable distance from home. As I was crossing over a hollow 
road the horse stumbled and fell, and I lost consciousness. I 
must have lain there senseless for about three hours, as it was 
already twilight by the time I stirred. The horse was standing 
near me. As I said, the place was at a great distance from our 
estate, and I was entirely unacquainted with the district. I had 
not yet quite recovered my senses, but on this occasion also I did 
what was necessary. I took off the martingale, which was 
broken, and followed the road across a rather long bridge which, 
as I then ascertained, was the nearest way to a farm in the 
neighbourhood. The farmer's wife ran away on seeing a big 
man standing before her with his face all covered with blood. 
Her husband, however, came to me and wiped away the blood. 
I told him who I was, and as I was hardly fit for such a long 
ride home I asked him to drive me there, which he accordingly 
did. I must have been shot fifteen feet out of the saddle and 
fallen against the root of a tree. On the doctor examining my 
injuries, he said it was against all the rules of his art that I had 
not broken my neck. 

" I have also been a couple of other times in danger of my 



life," continued the Chief. " For instance, before the Semmer- 
ing railway was finished (I believe it was in 1852) I went with a 
party through one of the tunnels. It was quite dark inside. I 
went ahead with a lantern. Now right across the floor of the 
tunnel was a rift or gully, which must have been about fifteen 
feet deep and half as wide again as this table. A plank was 
laid across it, with a raised skirting board on both sides to pre- 
vent the wheelbarrows from slipping off. This plank must have 
been rotten, as when I reached the middle it broke in two and I 
fell down ; but having probably involuntarily stretched out my 
arms, I remained hanging on the skirting. The lantern having 
gone out, those behind thought I had fallen into the gully, and 
were not a little surprised when the reply to their question, * Are 
you still alive ? ' instead of coming from the depths below came 
from just under their feet. I answered, * Yes, here I am.* I 
had in the meantime recovered hold also with my feet, and I 
asked whether I should go on or come back. The guide thought 
I had better go on to the other side, and so I worked my way 
over. The workman who acted as our guide then struck a light, 
got another plank, and brought the party across. That plank 
was a good example of the slovenly way in which such things 
were managed in Austria at that time ; because I cannot believe 
that it was intentional. I was not hated in Vienna then as I am 
now — on the contrary." 

Thursday, November lotk. — In the morning I am instructed 
by the Chief to telegraph that great distress has been occa- 
sioned in France and that still more is to be anticipated in con- 
sequence of the application by the Provisional Government of 
Savings Bank funds for the relief of the poor, and of the prop- 
erty of corporations to military purposes. I had permission to 
study the documents connected with the abortive negotiations 
for an armistice. 

Thiers had stated in a memorandum the principles which 
he, and the French Government which he represented, regarded 
as a basis for the proposed armistice. It was to the following 
effect : — The object of the understanding was to put an end as 
soon as possible to the bloodshed, and to permit the convoca- 
tion of a National Assembly which would represent the will of 
France in dealing with the European Powers, and be in a 
position sooner or later to conclude peace with Prussia and her 



allies. The armistice must last for twenty-eight days, of which 
twelve would be required for canvassing the constituencies, one 
for the polling, five for the elected deputies to meet in some given 
place, and ten for examining the returns and appointing the 
bureau of the Assembly. Tours might for the present remain 
the seat of such an Assembly. The elections must be allowed 
to take place free and unhindered in all parts of France, includ- 
ing those occupied by the Prussians. Military operations on 
both sides to cease, although both parties would be at liberty to 
enlist recruits and proceed with works of defence. The armies 
to be at liberty to obtain for themselves supplies of provisions, 
but requisitions on the other hand to be suspended as " constitut- 
ing a military operation which should cease together with other 
hostilities." Moreover, fortified places were to be provisioned 
for the duration of the truce in proportion to the strength of 
the population and garrison. For this purpose Paris to be 
allowed to receive the following live stock and other provisions 
over four railway lines to be determined : 34,000 bullocks, 
80,000 sheep, 8,000 pigs, 5,000 calves, 100,000 metric centals of 
corned meat, 8,000,000 metric centals of hay or straw as fodder 
for the cattle in question, 200,000 metric centals of flour, 30,000 
metric centals of dried vegetables, 100,000 tons of coal, and 
500,000 cubic metres of firewood. In these calculations the pop- 
ulation of Paris and its suburbs, including the garrison of 400,- 
000 men, was estimated at 2,700,000 to 2,800,000 inhabitants. 

These demands on the part of the French could not be 
accepted. Had we agreed to them we should have surrendered 
the greater and more important portion of the advantages we 
had gained in the last seven weeks, at the cost of great sacri- 
fices and severe exertions. In other words, we should in the 
main have returned to the position in which we were on the 
19th of September, the day on which our troops completed 
the investment of Paris. We are asked to allow Paris to pro- 
vision itself, when even now it suffers from scarcity and will 
shortly be obliged to starve or surrender. We are to suspend 
our military operations just at the moment when the fall of 
Metz and the release of the army of Prince Frederick Charles 
enable us to extend and render them more effective. We are 
quietly to permit recruiting and organisation, by means of 
which the French Republic is to create a new field force, while 




we require no recruits. At the same time that we are to allow 
Paris and the other French fortresses to supply themselves with 
provisions, we are to provide for our own troops without the 
requisitions which are necessary in an enemy's country. We 
are to make all these concessions without any military equiva- 
lent — such, for instance, as the evacuation of one or two of the 
Paris forts in return for the liberty to provision the city — and 
without being offered any clear prospect of peace. The first 
object of the armistice, according to the Thiers memorandum, 
namely, the restoration of an orderly state of affairs by the 
lawful election of a Constituent Assembly, is unquestionably 
more in the interest of the French themselves than in ours ; 
and, considering the constant excitement maintained by the 
inflammatory proclamations of the Provisional Government, it 
may possibly not be secured even under a new administration. 
More orderly conditions could be brought about even now with- 
out a truce if the present Government were seriously disposed 
to work in that direction. It was absolutely impossible on the 
German side to have anything to do with such proposals. A 
different arrangement altogether was needful, and therefore the 
Chancellor of the Confederation offered M. Thiers a truce of 
twenty-five to twenty-eight days on the basis of the maintenance 
of the military status qiw^ which would enable the French to 
carry on the elections in peace, and to convoke the Assembly 
thus constituted. This also was a concession on our part in 
which the advantages were all on the French side. If, as 
Thiers asserted, Paris was supplied with provisions and other 
necessaries for several months, it is not easy to see why the 
Provisional Government broke off the negotiations which, at the 
outside, would have prevented the Parisians from making use- 
less sorties. France, on the other hand, would have had the 
great advantage of having a line of demarcation drawn which 
would have arrested the advance of the German forces, restrict- 
ing the unopposed occupation of further districts by our army 
that had been set free by the fall of Metz. In the meantime 
Thiers refused this very acceptable offer, and maintained that 
the provisioning of Paris was an indispensable condition for an 
understanding, while he was not empowered to give any pros- 
pect of a military equivalent for the same, such as the evacua- 
tion of one of the Paris forts. 

VOL, I. — Q 

226 THE WATER SUPPLY [Nov. lo 

On coming in to dinner, the Chief mentioned that the Min- 
ister of War is seriously ill. He feels very weak, and will 
scarcely be able to rise from his bed for a fortnight. The 
Count afterwards made some jokes about the water supplied to 
us for washing. "The inhabitants of the local reservoir," he 
said, " seem to have their seasons. First came the scolopendria, 
which are particularly distasteful to me, * moving their thousand 
limbs together' (Schiller's Diver). Then followed the wood 
lice, which I cannot bear to touch, although they are perfectly 
harmless. I'd sooner grasp a snake. Now the leeches have 
arrived. I found quite a small specimen to-day, doubled up 
into a button. I tried to induce him to deploy, but he declined 
— remained a button. I then poured some well water over him, 
and he stretched out straight, long and thin like a needle, and 
made off with himself." The conversation then turned on a 
variety of simple but nevertheless estimable delicacies, such as 
fresh and salt herrings, new potatoes, spring butter, &c. The 
Minister observed to Delbriick, who also approved of those 
good things : ** The sturgeon is a fish which is also to be found 
here, but it is not appreciated as it ought to be. In Russia they 
recognise its good qualities. It is often caught in the Elbe in 
the Magdeburg district, but is only eaten by fishermen and poor 
people." He then explained its good points, and thus came to 
speak of caviare, and treated of the several varieties with the 
knowledge of a connoisseur. 

"The fresh caviare which we now get in Berlin is very 
good," he said, " since it can be brought by rail from St. Peters- 
burg in forty hours. I have had it several times, and one of 
my principal complaints against that fat Borck is that he inter- 
cepted forty pounds of this caviare which I once sent to the 
King. I suspected something of the kind, as the King made 
no mention of it, and did not send me any present in return. 
Later on, Perponcher or some one told me that on dropping 
in to Borck' s room he saw there a barrel of caviare with a 
spoon standing in it. That made me wild with him (Das hat 
mir sehr verdrossen). " 

The Chief remarked at dinner : " To-day, again, I noticed 
when it snowed how many points of resemblance there are be- 
tween the Gauls and the Slavs. The same broad streets, with 
the houses standing close together, the same low roofs, as in 


Russia. The only thing wanting here is the green onion- 
shaped steeple. But, on the other hand, the versts and kilo- 
metres, the arsheens and metres, are the same. And then the 
tendency to centralisation, the uniformity of views of the whole 
population and the communistic trait in the popular character." 

He then spoke of the wonderful "topsy-turvy" world we 
live in nowadays. " When one thinks that perhaps the Pope 
will shortly be residing in a small town of Protestant Germany, 
that the Reichstag may meet in Versailles and the Corps L6gis- 
latif in Cassel, that Garibaldi has become a French general 
in spite of Mentana, and that Papal Zouaves are fighting side 
by side with him ! " He followed up this train of ideas for 
some little time. 

The Minister then remarked suddenly : " Metternich has 
also written to me to-day. He wants me to allow Hoyos to 
enter Paris, in order that he may bring away the Austrians. 
I replied that since the 25th of October they have had permis- 
sion to come out, but that we could allow no more people to 
enter, not even diplomats. We also receive none in Versailles, 
but I would make an exception in his favour. He will then 
perhaps again raise the Austrians' claims respecting the prop- 
erty of the old Bund in the German fortresses." 

On the subject of doctors, and the way in which nature some- 
times comes to its own assistance, the Chief related that he was 

once with a shooting party for two days at the Duke of 's. 

" I was thoroughly out of sorts. Even the two days' shooting 
and fresh air did me no good. On the third day I visited the 
Cuirassiers at Brandenburg, who had received a new cup. I 
was to be the first one to drink out of it, thus dedicating it, and 
then it was to go the round of the table. It held nearly a bot- 
tle. I made my speech, however, drank and set it down empty, 
to the great surprise of the officers, who had but a poor opinion 
of mere quill-drivers. That was the result of my Gottingen 
training. And strangely, or perhaps naturally enough, it set 
me all right again. On another occasion, when I was shooting 
at Letzlingen in the time of Frederick William IV., the guests 
were asked to drink from an old puzzle goblet. It was a stag's 
horn, which contained about three-quarters of a bottle of wine, 
and was so made that one could not bring it close to the lips, 
yet one was not allowed to spill a drop. I took it and drank 

228 A "KINDLY" REPLY! [Nov. 12 

it off at a draught, although it was very cold champagne, and 
not a single drop fell on my white waistcoat. Everybody was 
immensely surprised; but I said, 'Give me another.' The 
King, however, who evidently did not appreciate my success, 
called out, * No, no more.' Such tricks were formerly an indis- 
pensable part of the diplomat's trade. They drank the weaker 
vessels under the table, wormed all they wanted to know out 
of them, made them agree to things which were contrary to 
their instructions, or for which, at least, they had no authority. 
Then they were compelled to put their signatures at once, and 
afterwards when they got sober they could not imagine how 
they had done it." 

Bismarck-Bohlen, who seemed to be particularly communi- 
cative to-day, told the following anecdote about the Chief. At 
Commercy a woman came to him to complain that her hus- 
band, who had tried to strike a hussar with a spade, had been 
arrested. "The Minister listened to her very amiably, and 
when she had done he replied in the kindliest manner possible, 
* Well, my good woman, you can be quite sure that your hus- 
band ' (drawing a line round his neck with his finger) * will be 
presently hanged.' " 

Saturday y November 12th. — While we were at lunch the 
Chief was out. He shortly afterwards passed through the 
dining-room into the saloon, accompanied by a bearded officer 
in a Prussian uniform, the Grand Duke of Baden. 

In about ten minutes the Chief returned to table. He was 
very angry and indignant, and said: "This is really too bad! 
No peace from these Grand Dukes even at one's meals. 
They will eventually force their way into one's bedroom. That 
must be put a stop to. It is not so in Berlin. There the 
people who want something from me announce their visits in 
writing, and I fix a suitable time for them to call. Why should 
it not be the same here } " 

After a while the Chief said to one of the attendants who 
was waiting upon us, " Remember in future in such cases to 
say that I am not at home. Whoever brings any visitor to 
me unannounced will be put under arrest and sent off to Berlin; " 
and after eating a few mouthfuls more, he went on: "As if it 
were anything of importance! But merely curiosity and a 
desire to kill time. He shall see, however ; I will shortly pay 




him a surprise visit on some official matter, so that he cannot 
send me away. ..." 

The conversation then turned on Roon's asthma, which 
according to I.auer is now improving. His rage at the appear- 
ance of the Grand Duke during the dinner hour still visibly 
affected the Chief, who asked Lauer, ** What should one drink 
with his food when in a bad temper.?" and on Lauer recom- 
mending something the name of which I could not catch, the 
Minister continued: "It upsets my digestion when anything 
exasperates me at meals; and here I have had good reason 
to be angry. They think that one is only made for their use." 
Then addressing the servant again the Chief said : " Mind you 
send away the red lackeys, and say that I am not at home. 
Remember that! And you, Karl (to Bohlen), must take care 
that this is done." 

The name of Arnim Boitzenburg, the former Minister, then 
came up. The Chancellor said he had been his chief at Aix- 
la-Chapelle, and he went on to describe him as ** amiable, clever, 
but unstable and incapable of persistent or energetic action. 
He was like an india-rubber ball that bounces again and again, 
but each time with diminishing force until at length it ceases 
to move. He first had an opinion, then weakened it by argu- 
ing against it himself, and went on criticising his own criticism, 
until at last there was nothing left and nothing done." 

Delbriick praised the son-in-law (Harry Arnim) as being 
well-informed and intelligent, though unsympathetic and un- 
ambitious. This was confirmed by the Chief, who said : " Yes, 
he is a rocket in which they forgot to put the powder. He 
has, however, a good head, but his reports are not the same 
on any two successive days — often on the same day two thor- 
oughly contradictory views. No reliance can be placed upon 

Arnim's lack of ambition led some one to speak of orders 
and titles, and the Chief said his first decoration was a medal 
for saving life, which he received for having rescued a servant 
from drowning. " T was made an * Excellency ' at the palace 
in Konigsberg in 186 1. I, however, already had the title in 
Frankfort, only there I was not a Prussian but a Federal 
Excellency. The German Princes had decided that each Min- 
ister to the Diet should have that title. For the matter of that 

230 "WHY NOT BE CIVIL?" [Nov. 15 

I did not trouble myself much about it — nor afterwards either 
— I was a distinguished man without it." 

' Sunday f November i^th. — The Chancellor, in a general's 
uniform and helmet, and wearing several orders, went to-day 
to dine with the King. As he was leaving, Bohlen said to 
him : " But you ought to have the ribbon of the Iron Cross in 
your button-hole." 

**It is there already," replied the Minister. "In other cir- 
cumstances I should not wear it. I am ashamed before my 
own sons and many others who have earned it but not got it, 
while all the loafers at headquarters swagger about with it." 

In the evening the Chancellor desired me to send a dementi 
of a false report published by the Augsburg Allgemeine Zei- 
tungy to the effect that Count Arnim paid a visit to head- 
quarters before his departure for Rome. The Chief at the 
same time remarked : ** I have told you more than once that 
you must not write so violently. Here you are again, speak- 
ing of * hallucination ' (in correction of an article by Archibald 
Forbes in the Daily News). Why not be civil t I, too, have 
to be civil. Always this carping, malignant style ! You must 
learn to write differently if you want to work in such a distin- 
guished Foreign Office, or we must make other arrangements. 
And such a bullying style ! Just like Brass, who might have 
had a brilliant position if he were not so brutal." " Hallucina- 
tion " was the word used by the Minister himself ; but in future 
I shall be careful to sift my phrases so as to eliminate all rough 
words and only let soft ones find their way into the press. 

Hatzfeld told me at tea that the Chief had also "carried 
on awfully " with him, adding that if he remained in such a 
temper for long he (Hatzfeld) would think of leaving. The 
Count will, however, in all probability take plenty of time to 
reconsider this matter. 

Tuesday y November \^th. — The Chief is still unwell. 
Theiss reports that the Court have their things ready packed 
to-day, and this is confirmed at lunch. The position of affairs 
between here and Orleans is not as good as it might be. The 
Minister also on sitting down to table mentions the possibility 
of our having to retire and evacuate Versailles for a time. 
There might be an attack from Dreux combined with a sortie 
on a large scale from Paris. He had repeatedly spoken of 


that possibility to members of the general staff. Even a lay- 
man could see that a successful attempt of that kind in which 
not only the Court and general staff, but also the heavy siege 
guns, would be in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy 
must be the sole chance of relieving Paris, and that the French, 
therefore, may well hazard the attempt. 



Wednesday y November i6th. — The Chief is still unwell. 
One of the causes is supposed to be his mortification at the 
course of the negotiations with the South German States 
(which once more seem as if they would come to a standstill) 
and at the conduct of the military authorities, who have on 
various occasions neglected to consult him, although the matters 
dealt with were not merely military questions. 

Count Waldersee dines with us. The Chief complains once 
more that the military authorities are proceeding too slowly for 
him, and do not inform him of all matters of importance. He 
had only succeeded, " after repeated requests," in getting them 
to send him at least those particulars which they telegraph to 
the German newspapers. It was different in 1866. He was 
then present at all councils, and his view was frequently ac- 
cepted. For instance, it was due to him that a direct attack 
upon Vienna was given up, and that the army marched on to 
the Hungarian frontier. "And that is only as it should be. 
It is necessary for my business. I must be informed of the 
course of military operations, in order that I may know the 
proper time at which to conclude peace." 

Thursday, November I'/th. — Alten and Prince Radziwill are 
the Chief's guests at dinner. A rumour is mentioned to the 
.effect that Garibaldi and 13,000 of his volunteers have been 
made prisoners. The Minister observed : " That is really dis- 
heartening — to make prisoners of 13,000 franctireurs who are 
not even Frenchmen ! Why have they not been shot 1 " 

He then complained that the military authorities so seldom 
consulted him. "This capitulation of Verdun, for instance — 
I should certainly not have advised that. To undertake to 
return their arms after peace had been concluded, and still 



more to let French officials continue the administration as they 
please. The first condition might pass, as the conditions of 
peace might provide that the weapons should not be returned. 
But that librement ! It ties our hands in the interval, even 
should they place all kinds of obstacles in our way and act as 
if there were absolutely no war. They can openly stir up a 
rising in favour of the Republic, and under this agreement we 
can do nothing to prevent them." After dwelling upon this 
topic for some time, the Minister concluded by saying : " At all 
events, such a capitulation is unprecedented in history." 

Some one referred to the article written by a diplomat in the 
Independance Beige prophesying the restoration of Napoleon. 
" No doubt," observed the Chancellor, " Napoleon fancies some- 
thing of the kind will happen. Moreover, it is not entirely 
impossible. If he made peace with us he might return with 
the troops he has now in Germany. Something in the style of 
Klapka's Hungarian Legion on a grand scale, to work in co- 
operation with us. And then his Government is still the legal 
one. Order being once restored, he would at the outside require 
an army of 200,000 men for its maintenance. With the excep- 
tion of Paris, it would not be necessary to garrison the large 
towns with troops. Perhaps Lyons and Marseilles. The 
National Guards would be sufficient for the protection of the 
others. If the republicans were to rise in rebellion they could 
be bombarded and shelled out. 

A telegram reporting Granville's statement with regard to 
the Russian declaration concerning the Peace of Paris was sent 
by the King to the Chief, who read it over to us. It was to the 
effect that Russia, in taking upon herself to denounce a portion 
of the Treaty of 1856, assumed the right to set aside the whole 
on her own initiative, a right which was only possessed by the 
signatory Powers collectively. England could not tolerate such 
an arbitrary course, which threatened the validity of all treaties. 
Future complications were to be apprehended. The Minister 
smiled and said : " Future complications ! Parliamentary 
speech-makers ! They are not going to venture. The whole 
tone is also in the future. That is the way in which one speaks 
when he does not mean to do anything. No, there is nothing 
to be feared from them now, as there was nothing to be hoped 
from them four months ago. If at the beginning of the war the 


English had said to Napoleon, 'There must be no war,' there 
would have been none." 

After a while the Minister continued : ** Gortchakoff is not 
carrying on in this matter a real Russian policy (that is, one in 
the true interests of Russia), but rather a policy of violent aggres- 
sion. People still believe that Russian diplomats are particu- 
larly crafty and clever, full of artifices and stratagems, but that 
is not the case. If the people at St. Petersburg were clever 
they would not make any declaration of the kind, but would 
quietly build men-of-war in the Black Sea and wait until they 
were questioned on the subject. Then they might reply that 
they knew nothing about it, but would make inquiries, and so 
let the matter drag on. That might continue for a long time, 
and finally people would get accustomed to it." 

Another telegram announced the election of the Duke of 
Aosta as King of Spain. The Chief said : " I pity him — and 
them. He is, moreover, elected by a small majority — not by 
the two-thirds originally intended. There were 190 votes for 
him and 115 against." Alten was pleased that the monarchical 
sentiments of the Spaniards had ultimately prevailed. "Ah, 
those Spaniards ! " exclaimed the Chief. " They have no sense 
of what is honourable or becoming ! They showed that on the 
outbreak of this war. If only one of those Castilians who pre- 
tend to have a monopoly of the sense of honour had but ex- 
pressed his indignation at the cause of the present war, which 
was after all Napoleon's intervention in their previous election 
of a king, interfering with their free choice and treating them 
as vassals ! . . . As a matter of fact, these Spaniards are all 
mere Angelo de Mirandas, — he was formerly a card sharper, 
and then confidant of Prim's and probably also of the King's." 
After the Chief had made some further remarks, some one said 
that it was now all over with the candidature of the Prince of 
Hohenzollern. "Yes," replied the Chief, "but only because he 
wishes it to be so. A couple of weeks ago I told him that it 
was still time. But he no longer wanted to go on." 

Saturday, November i()tk. — We were joined at dinner by 
General von Werder, the Prussian Military Plenipotentiary at 
St. Petersburg. The Chief, who looked very pleased, said, 
shortly after entering the dining-room : " Well, we shall prob- 
ably be able to come to an understanding with Bavaria." 


"Yes," exclaimed Bohlen, " something of that kind has already 
been telegraphed to one of the Berlin papers." " I am sorry 
for that," replied the Minister; "it is premature. But of 
course, wherever there is a mob of Princes who have nothing 
to do and who feel bored, nothing can be kept secret ! " 

The conversation then turned on Vienna and Count Beust. 
The Chief said Beust had apologised for the recent discourteous 
note. It was written by Biegeleben, and not by himself. The 
reference to Biegeleben led to the discussion of the Gagern 
family and to the once celebrated Heinrich von Gagern (Presi- 
dent of the Reichstag in the Paulskirche at Frankfort). " I 
remember," the Chief said, "in 1850 or 185 1, Manteuffel was 
instructed to bring about an understanding between the Gagern 
and the Conservative sections of the Prussian party — at least, 
as far as the King was disposed to go in the cause of German 
unity. Manteuffel selected Gagern and myself for this pur- 
pose, and so we were both invited one day to a souper a trois at 
his place. At first there was little or no mention of politics, but 
Manteuffel afterwards made some excuse for leaving us alone. 
When he left I immediately began to talk politics, explaining 
my standpoint to Gagern in a plain, business-like way. You 
should have heard Gagern ! He assumed his Jove-like aspect, 
lifted his eyebrows, ran his fingers through his hair, rolled his 
eyes and cast them up to heaven so perpendicularly that you 
could hear the joints in his neck crack, and poured out his 
grand phrases to me as if I were a public meeting. Of course, 
that did not help him much with me. I replied coolly, and we 
remained divided as before. When Jupiter had retired, Man- 
teuffel asked, * Well, what arrangement have you come to 
together } ' * Oh,' I replied, * no arrangement at all. The 
man is a fool. He takes me for a public meeting ! A mere 
watering-can of fine phrases ! Nothing can be done with 
him.' " 

The subject of the bombardment having been introduced, 
the Chief said : " I told the King again yesterday that it was 
time to begin, and he had no objection to make. He replied 
that he had given orders to begin, but that the generals said 
they could not. I know exactly how it is. It is Stosch, Tre- 
skow, and Podbielski." 

Some one asked : " And Hindersin ? " 


"He also is against it," said the chief. " Podbielski " (so 
I understood him to say) " could be brought round. But the 
other two are influenced by considerations affecting their own 

It appeared from some further remarks of the Minister that, 
in his opinion, first Queen Victoria, and then, at her instance, 
the Crown Princess, and, finally, the Crown Prince, persuaded 
by his consort, will not have Paris bombarded ; while the gen- 
erals "cannot" bombard the city out of consideration for the 
views of the Crown Prince, who will, of course, be the future 
King, and will have the appointment of Ministers of War, com- 
mandants of army corps, and field marshals. 

The late General von Mollendorff having been mentioned, 
the Minister related the following anecdote : " I remember after 
the March rising, when the King and the troops were at Pots- 
dam, I went there too. A council was being held as to what 
was to be done. Mollendorff was present, and sat not far from 
me. He seemed to be in pain, and could scarcely sit down for 
the beating he had received. All kinds of suggestions were 
made, but no one knew exactly what was to be done. I sat 
near the piano and said nothing, but played a few bars" (he 
hummed the opening of the infantry march for the charge). 
" Old Mollendorff suddenly stood up, his face beaming with 
pleasure, and, hobbling over, threw his arms round my neck, 
and said : ' That's right. I know what you mean. March on 
Berlin ! ' There was nothing to be done with the King, how- 
ever, and the others had not the pluck." 

After a while the Chancellor asked Werder : " How much 
does each visit to the Tsar cost you ? " I do not know what 
Werder* s answer was, but the Chief went on : " It was always 
a rather costly business for me — particularly in Zarskoje. 
There I had always to pay from 15 to 20 and sometimes 25 
roubles, according as I drove out to see the Emperor with or 
without an invitation. It was always more expensive in the 
former case. I had to fee the coachman and footman who 
brought me, the majordomo who received me — he wore a 
sword when I came on invitation, and then the running foot- 
man who conducted me through the whole length of the castle 
— it must be about a thousand yards — to the Emperor's apart- 
ments. Well, he really earned his five roubles. And one 



never got the same coachman twice. I could never recover 
these expenses. We Prussians were altogether badly paid. 
Twenty-five thousand thalers' salary and 8,cx)0 thalers for rent. 
For that sum I certainly had a house as large and fine as any 
palace in Berlin. But all the furniture was old, shabby, and 
faded, and when I had paid for repairs and other odds and 
ends it cost me 9,000 a year. I found, however, that I was not 
obliged to spend more than my salary, and so I helped myself 
out of the difficulty by not entertaining. The French Minister 
had 300,000 francs, and was in addition allowed to charge his 
Government with the expense of any receptions which he chose 
to look upon as official." 

" But you had at least free firing," said Werder, " and at St. 
Petersburg that amounts to something considerable in the course 
of the year." 

*' Excuse me, but I had not," replied the Chief, ** I was 
obliged to pay for that too. Wood would not have been so 
dear if the officials had not made it so. I remember once see- 
ing some very good timber in a Finnish boat. I asked the 
peasants what the price was and they mentioned a very moder- 
ate figure. But when I wanted to buy it they asked if it was 
for the Treasury (he used the Russian term). I was imprudent 
enough to reply that it was not for the Imperial Treasury (he 
again used the Russian words) but for the Royal Prussian Lega- 
tion. When I came back to have the wood removed they had 
disappeared. Had I given them the address of a tradesman, 
with whom I could afterwards have made an arrangement, I 
might have got the wood at a third of the price I usually paid. 
They evidently regarded the Prussian Minister as one of the 
Tsar's officials and thought to themselves : * No, when it comes 
to payment he will say that we have stolen the wood, and have 
us locked up until we give it to him for nothing.' " The Chief 
then gave some instances of the way in which the Tschinowniks 
harassed and exploited the peasantry, and afterwards returned 
to the subject of the poor pay of Prussian Ministers as compared 
with those of other countries. " It is just the same in Berlin," 
he said. "The Prussian Minister has 10,000 thalers, but the 
English Ambassador has 63,000, and the Russian 44,000, while 
the latter' s Government bears the cost of all entertainments, 
and if the Tsar stays with him he usually receives a full year's 

238 "WAR IS WAR" • [Nov. 23 

salary as compensation. Of course, in such circumstances, we 
cannot keep pace with them." 

Tuesday, November 22nd. — Prince Pless, Major von Alten, 
and a Count Stolberg dine with us. Mention is made of a 
great discovery of first-rate wine in a cellar near Bougival, 
which has been confiscated in accordance with the laws of war. 
Bohlen complains that none of it has reached us. Altogether 
the Foreign Office is as badly provided as possible. Care is 
always taken to set apart the most uncomfortable lodgings for 
the Chief, and they have been invariably lucky in finding such. 
" Yes," said the Chancellor, laughing, " it is pure churlishness 
on their part to treat me like that. And so ungrateful, as I 
have always looked after their interests in the Diet. But they 
shall see me thoroughly transformed. I started for the war 
devoted to the military, but I shall go home a convinced Parlia- 
mentarian. No more military budgets." 

Prince Pless praises the Wiirtemberg troops. They make 
an excellent impression and come next to our own in the matter 
of military bearing. The Chancellor agrees, but thinks the 
Bavarians also deserve commendation. He appears to be par- 
ticularly pleased at the summary way in which they shoot down 
the " francvoleurs." " Our North German soldiers follow orders 
too literally. When one of those footpads fires at a Holstein 
dragoon he gets off his horse, runs after the fellow with his 
heavy sword, and catches him. He then brings him to his lieu- 
tenant, who either lets him go or hands him over to his superior 
officer — which comes to the same thing, as he is then set free. 
The Bavarian acts differently. He knows that war is war, and 
keeps up the good old customs. He does not wait until he is 
shot at from behind, but shoots first himself." 

In the evening I prepared Bernstorff' s despatch respecting 
the capture of a German ship in English waters by the French 
frigate Desaix for our press ; also the letter to Lundy on the 
export of arms from England to France ; and finally arranged 
that our papers should no longer defend Bazaine against the 
charge of treason, "as it does him harm." 

Wednesday y November 2'^rd. — This morning I asked Bucher 
how the Bavarian Treaties were getting on and whether they 
would not be finally settled this evening. "Yes," was the re- 
ply, " if nothing happens in the meantime — and it need not be 




anything very important. Could you imagine what it was that 
recently nearly wrecked the negotiations ? The question of col- 
lars or epaulettes ! The King of Bavaria wanted to retain the 
Bavarian collar, while his Majesty wished to have it replaced by 
ours. The Chief, however, finally brought him round by say- 
ing : * But, your Majesty, if the Treaty is not concluded now, 
and in ten years' time perhaps the Bavarians are arrayed against 
us in battle, what will history say when it becomes known that 
the negotiations miscarried owing to these collars .'' ' Moreover, 
the King is not the worst — but rather the Minister of War." 
As I was then called away I could not for the moment un- 
riddle this mystery. I afterwards learned that the question was 
whether the Bavarian officers should in future wear the badge 
of their rank on their collars as hitherto, or on their shoulder- 
straps like the North German troops. Bucher having alluded 
to the strong Republican sympathies which Allen had yesterday 
displayed, Pless also observed : " Really, if we had known what 
sort of people these Princes were at the time we were discussing 
the Criminal Code in the Diet, we should really not have helped 
to make the provisions respecting lese-majesi^ so severe." The 
Chief remarked with a laugh : " Every one of us has already 
deserved ten years' penal servitude if all our jibing at princes 
during the campaign were proved against us." 
■ We were joined at dinner by Count Frankenberg and Prince 
Putbus. Both wore the Iron Cross. The guests mentioned 
that people were very anxious in Berlin for the bombardment to 
begin, and grumbled a great deal at its postponement. The 
rumour as to the influence of certain great ladies being one of 
the causes of the delay appears to be very widespread. " I 
have often told the King so," said the Chief, "but it cannot be 
done; they will not have it." "The Queen .?" suggested some one. 
" Several queens," corrected the Chancellor, " and princesses. 
I believe also that Masonic influences and scruples have 
helped." He then again declared that he regarded the invest- 
ment of Paris as a blunder. " I have never been in favour of it. 
If they had left it alone we should have made more progress, 
or at least we should have had a better position before Europe. 
We have certainly not added to our prestige by spending eight 
weeks outside Paris. We ought to have left Paris alone and 
sought the French in the open country. But otherwise the 


bombardment ought to have begun at once. If a thing has to 
be done, do it!" 

The conversation then turned upon the treatment of the 
French rural population, and Putbus related that a Bavarian 
officer had ordered a whole village to be burned to the ground 
and the wine in the cellars to be poured out into the gutter be- 
cause the inhabitants of the place had acted treacherously. 
Some one else observed that the soldiers at some other place 
had given a fearful dressing to a cure who had been caught in 
an act of treachery. The Minister again praised the energy of 
the Bavarians, but said with regard to the second case: "One 
ought either to treat people as considerately as possible or to 
put it out of their power to do mischief — one or the other." 
After reflecting for a moment, he added : " Be civil to the very 
last step of the gallows, but hang all the same. One should 
only be rude to a friend when one feels sure that he will not 
take it amiss. How rude one is to his wife, for instance ! That 
reminds me, by the way, Herr von Keudell, will you please tele- 
graph to Reinfeld, * If a letter comes from Count Bismarck hold 
it back, and forward it to the Post Restante or to Berlin.' I 
have written various things to my wife which are not overflow- 
ing with loyal reverence. My father-in-law is an old gentleman 
of eighty-one, and as the Countess has now left Reinfeld, where 
she was on a visit to him, he would open and read the letter and 
show it to the pastor, who would tell his gossips about it, and 
presently it would get into the newspapers." 

Bleibtreu's sketch representing General Reille as he came up 
the hill at Sedan to deliver Napoleon's letter to the King was 
then mentioned, and some one remarked that from the way in 
which the general was taking off his cap, he looked as if he 
were going to shout Hurrah ! The Chief said : " His demean- 
our was thoroughly dignified and correct. I spoke to him alone 
while the King was writing his reply. He urged that hard con- 
ditions should not be imposed upon a great army which had 
fought so bravely. I shrugged my shoulders. He then said 
that rather than submit they would blow up the fortress. I 
said, *Well, do so — faites sauter!' I asked him then if the 
Emperor could still depend upon the army and the ofificers. He 
said yes. And whether his instructions and orders still held 
good in Metz ? Reille answered this question also in the affirma- 


tive, and, as we saw, he was right at the time. ... If Napo- 
leon had only made peace then 1 believe he would still be a 
respected ruler. But he is a silly fool ! I said so sixteen years 
ago when no one would believe me. Stupid and sentimental. 
The King also thought for the moment that it would be peace, 
and wanted me to say what conditions we should propose. But 
I said to him, * Your Majesty, we can hardly have got as far 
as that yet' Their Highnesses and Serene Highnesses then 
pressed so close to us that I had twice to beg the King to move 
further off. I should have preferred to tell them plainly, 
'Gentlemen, leave us alone; you have nothing to do here.' 
The one thing which prevented me from being rude to them 
was that the brother of our Most Gracious was the ringleader 
and chief offender of the whole prying mob." 

About 10 o'clock I went down to tea, and found Bismarck- 
Bohlen and Hatzfeld still there. The Chief was in the salon 
with the three Bavarian Plenipotentiaries. In about a quarter of 
an hour he opened one side of the door, bent his head forward 
with his friendliest look, and came in with a glass in his hand 
and took a seat at the table. 

"Well," he said, his voice and looks betraying his emotion, 
"the Bavarian Treaty is made and signed. German unity is 
secure, and the German Emperor too." We were all silent for 
a moment. I then begged to be allowed to bring away the pen 
with which he had signed it. " In God's name, bring all three," 
he said; "but the gold one is not amongst them." I went and 
took the three pens that lay near the document. Two of them 
were still wet. Two empty champagne bottles stood close by. 
" Bring us another bottle," said the Chief to the servant. " It 
is an event." Then, after reflecting for a while, he observed : 
" The newspapers will not be satisfied, and he who writes history 
in the usual way may criticise our agreement. He may possi- 
bly say, * The stupid fellow should have asked for more ; he 
would have got it, as they would have been compelled to yield.' 
And he may be right so far as the ' compelled ' is concerned. 
But what I attached more importance to was that they should 
be thoroughly pleased with the thing. What are treaties when 
people are compelled to enter into them! And I know that 
they went away pleased. ... I did not want to squeeze them 
or to make capital out of the situation. The Treaty has its 

242 THE ANGEL OF DEATH [Nov. 24 

deficiencies, but it is for that the more durable. The future 
can supply those deficiencies. . . . The King also was not 
satisfied. He was of opinion that such a treaty was not worth 
much. My opinion is quite different. I consider it one of the 
most important results which we have attained during recent 
years. I finally succeeded in carrying it through by exciting 
apprehensions of English intervention unless the matter were 
speedily settled. ... As to the question of the Emperor, 
I made that proposal palatable to them in the course of the 
negotiations by representing that it must be easier and more 
satisfactory for their sovereign to concede certain rights to 
the German Emperor than to the neighbouring King of 

On the Minister then speaking somewhat slightingly of the 
King of Bavaria, he was like a boy, did not know his own mind, 
lived in " dreams," and so on — Abeken (who had entered in 
the meantime, and was naturally aggrieved at these remarks) 
said : '* But surely the young King is a very nice man ! " " So 
are all of us here," said the Chief, as he looked round at the 
whole company one after another. Loud laughter from the 
Centre and the Left. Over a second bottle of champagne 
which he drank with us, the Chief came (I forget how the 
subject was introduced) to speak of his own death. He asserted 
that he should die in his 71st year, a conclusion which he 
arrived at from some combination of figures which I could not 
understand. I said : " Excellency must not do that. It would 
be too early. One must drive away the Angel of Death ! " 

"No," he replied. "In 1886 — still fifteen years. I know 
it. It is a mystic number." 

Thursday y November 24th. — Busily engaged all the morning 
with various articles on the Treaty with Bavaria, written in the 
sense of the Chief's utterances of last night. Wollmann told me 
that a Colonel Krohn had arrested a lawyer at a place in the 
Ardennes for having treacherously entered into communication 
with a band of franctireurs, and the court-martial having sen- 
tenced the man to death, he had presented a petition for pardon. 
The Chief had, however, written to the Minister of War to-day 
that he would advise the King to let justice take its course. 

Colonel Tilly, of the General Staff, and Major Hill are the 
Chief's guests at dinner to-day. The Minister again complained 


that the military authorities do not communicate sufficient infor- 
mation to him and too seldom consult him. " It was just the 
same with the appointment of Vogel von Falkenstein, who has 
now locked up Jacoby. If I have to speak on that subject in 
the Reichstag, I shall wash my hands of the matter. They could 
not possibly have done more to spoil the broth for me." " I 
came to the war," he repeated, " disposed to do everything for 
the military authorities, but in future I shall go over to the 
advocates of Parliamentary government, and if they worry me 
much more, I shall have a chair placed for myself on the 
extreme Left." 

The Treaty with Bavaria was then mentioned, and it was 
said that the difficulties which had been encountered arose 
partly on the National side, on which the Minister observed : 
"It is really remarkable how many clever people there are 
who, nevertheless, understand nothing about politics. For in- 
stance, the man who always sat on my right here (Delbriick). 
A very clever man, but no politician." 

Suddenly changing the subject, he said: "The English 
are beside themselves, and their newspapers demand war on 
account of a note which is nothing more than a statement of 
opinion on a point of law — for that is all that Gortchakoff's 
Note amounts to." 

Later on the Minister returned once more to the postpone- 
ment of the bombardment, which he regarded as dangerous 
from a political standpoint. " Here we have now collected this 
enormous mass of siege artillery. The whole world is waiting 
for us to begin, and yet the guns remain idle up to the present. 
That has certainly damaged us with the neutral Powers. The 
effect of our success at Sedan is very seriously diminished 
thereby, and when one thinks on what grounds." One of the 
causes of the delay brought him to speak of the Crown Prin- 
cess, of whom he said : " She is in general a very clever person 
and really agreeable in her way, but she should not interfere in 
politics." He then again related the anecdote about the glass 
of water which he told me near Crehanges, only this time it 
was in French that the Princess spoke. 

Friday, November 2^th. — In the morning I cut out for the 
King an article from the Neue Freie Presse, in which Granville's 
note is described as timid and colourless, and arrange for the 

244 FRENCH HEROICS [Nov. 26 

republication by all our papers in France of the telegram of 
July last, in which Napoleon stated that the whole French 
people approved of the declaration of war which he had just 

Whilst I was walking with Wollmann in the afternoon, he 
told me an anecdote of the Chief which is very neat — although 
I must add that my informant is not quite trustworthy. Woll- 
mann said: " On the night of the 14th to the 15th of June, 1866, 
Manteuffel telegraphed that he had crossed the Elbe, and asked 
how he was to treat the Hanoverians. Thereupon the Minister 
wrote the answer : * Treat them as countrymen, if necessary to 
death.' He asked me : * Do you understand that ? ' ' Yes, 
Excellency,* I replied. 'All right, then,' he added, 'but, you 
see, it is for a general.' " 

Saturday i November 26th, — Wrote several articles, includ- 
ing one on Trochu's extraordinary production in the Figaro of 
the 22nd instant, praising those whom he considered specially 
deserving of commendation in the defence of the city. The 
Chief read over to me some of the passages he had marked, 
saying: "These heroic deeds of the defenders of Paris are 
mostly of such an ordinary kind that Prussian generals would 
not think them worth mentioning, while others are mere swag- 
ger and obvious impossibilities. Trochu's braves have made 
more prisoners when they are all reckoned up than the whole 
French army during the entire investment of Paris. Then 
here is this Captain Montbrisson, who is commended for having 
marched at the head of his column to the attack, and had 
himself lifted over a wall in order to reconnoitre, — that was 
merely his duty. Then here is this theatrical vanity, where 
Private Gletty made prisoners of three Prussians, par la fer- 
met^de son attitude. The firmness of his attitude ! And our 
Pomeranians ate humble pie before him ! That may do for a 
Boulevard theatre, or a circus, — but in reality! Then this Hoff, 
who on several occasions slaughtered in single combat no less 
than twenty-seven Prussians ! He must be a Jew, this triple nine- 
pounder ! Probably a cousin of Malz-Hoff of the Old or New 
Wilhelmstrasse — at any rate a Miles Gloriosus. And finally 
this Terreaux, who captured a f anion, together with the porte- 
f anion. That is a company flag for marking the line — which 
we do not use at all. And the Commander-in-Chief of an army 



officially reports such stuff ! Really this list of commendations 
is just like the battle pictures in the gallery of toutes les gloires 
de la France, where each drummer at Sebastopol and Ma- 
genta is preserved for posterity, simply because he beat his 

At dinner the Chief complained : ** I was yesterday visited 
by a whole series of misfortunes, one on top of the other. First 
of all some one wanted to see me on important business (Odo 
Russell). I send word requesting him to wait for a few mo- 
ments, as I am engaged on a pressing matter. On my asking 
for him a quarter of an hour later, I find he has gone, and pos- 
sibly the peace of Europe is at stake. 

"Then I go to see the King as early as 12 o'clock, and the 
consequence is that I fall into the hands of the Grand Duke of 
Weimar, who obliges me, as his Chancellor, to listen to a letter 
which he has written to an august personage (the Emperor of 
Russia), and thus wastes a good deal of my time. ... I am to 
tell him what I think of the letter, but I decline to do so. 
Have I then anything to object to it } he asked in a piqued tone. 
I cannot say that either, although I would observe that I should 
have written the letter differently. What do I wish altered } I 
stick to my point, and say I cannot express an opinion, because 
if the letter went with my corrections I should be held respon- 
sible for its contents. * Well, then, I must speak to the King." 
* Do so,' I reply coolly, * and take over the office of Chancellor 
of the Confederation, if you like. But if the letter goes off, I 
for my part shall immediately telegraph to the place of desti- 
nation that I have had nothing to do with it.' I thus lost an 
hour, so that telegrams of great importance had to wait, and 
in the meantime, decisions may have been arrived at and reso- 
lutions taken which would have very serious consequences 
for all Europe, and might change the political situation. That 
all came of its being a Friday. Friday negotiations, Friday 
measures ! " 

Bucher told me the Crown Prince recently said to the 
Chancellor that too little had been secured by the Bavarian 
Treaty. After such great successes we ought to have asked for 
more. " Yes ; but how were we to get it } " asked the Chief. 
"Why, we ought to force them," was the Crown Prince's reply. 
" Then," said the Chancellor, " I can only recommend your 

246 THE TURCOS ARE "BEASTS OF PREY" [Nov. 27, 1870 

Royal Highness to begin by disarming the Bavarian Army 
Corps here," a remark which, of course, was intended ironically. 

Sunday, November 2yth. — We were joined at dinner by 
Count Lehndorff and Count Holnstein. The latter is Master 
of the Horse to King Lewis, and one of his confidential 

The Chief spoke at first of the Russian question. He said : 
" Vienna, Florence, and Constantinople have not yet expressed 
their views ; but St. Petersburg and London have done so, and 
those are the most important factors. There, however, the 
matter is satisfactory." 

Subsequently affairs at Munich were discussed. Holnstein 
observing, amongst other things, that the French Legation had 
greatly deceived themselves before the outbreak of the war as 
to the attitude of Bavaria. They judged by two or three 
ardently Catholic and anti-Prussian salons, and even thought 
that Prince Luitpold would become King. The Chief replied : 
** I never doubted that Bavaria would join us, but I had not 
hoped that she would decide so speedily to do so." 

Holnstein told us that a shoemaker in Munich had made a 
good deal of money by letting his windows, from which a good 
view could be had of the captured Turcos as they marched by, 
and presented seventy-nine florins to the fund for the wounded 
soldiers. People had come even from Vienna to see that pro- 
cession. This led the conversation to the shooting of these 
treacherous Africans, on which the Chief said : " There should 
have been no question of making prisoners of these blacks." 
Holnstein: "I believe they do not do so any longer." The 
Chief : " If I had my way every soldier who made a black man 
prisoner should be placed under arrest. They are beasts of 
prey, and ought to be shot down. The fox has the excuse that 
Nature has made him so, but these fellows — they are abomina- 
bly unnatural. They have tortured our soldiers to death in the 
most shameful way." 




Monday, November 2%th. — Prince Pless and Count Maltzahn 
dined with us. At first the Minister spoke about Hume, the 
American spiritualist, a doubtful character, who had been at 
Versailles, and who was to be arrested if he showed himself 
here again. The Chief then said: "The fellow managed to 
sneak into the Crown Prince's. But that is explained by the 
fact that whoever can speak even broken English is welcome 
there. The next thing will be for them to appoint Colonel 
Walker my successor as Chancellor of the Confederation." ^ 
Bohlen exclaimed, "I suppose you know that Garibaldi has 
been thrashed." Some one observed that if he were taken pris- 
oner he ought to be shot for having meddled in the war without 
authority. " They ought to be first put into a cage like beasts 
in a menagerie," said Bohlen. "No," said the Minister; "I 
have another idea. They should be taken to Berlin, and 
marched through the town with these words on a placard sus- 
pended round their necks, * Italians, House of Correction, In- 
gratitude,* and be then marched through the town." "And 
afterwards to Spandau," suggested Bohlen. The Chief added, 
" Or one might inscribe merely the words, * Italians, Venice, 
Spandau.' " 

The Bavarian question and the situation at Munich was then 
discussed. The Chief said: "The King is undecided. It is 
obvious that he would rather not. He accordingly pretends to 
be ill, has toothache, keeps to his bed, where the Ministers can- 
not reach him. Or he retires to a distant hunting-box in the 

1 Walker, the English Kutusoff of Count Bismarck-Bohlen, H.B.M.'s Military 
Plenipotentiary at headquarters, was not held in much estimation by the Chancellor 
and his entourage. 



mountains to which there is no telegraph line, nor even a 
proper road." 

Some one having remarked that in the present circumstances 
he is, after all, the best Bavarian ruler for our purposes, the 
Chief said: "Yes; if he were to die he would be succeeded by 
little Otto, whom we have had here. A poor creature, with 
very little intelligence. He would be entirely in the hands of 
the Austrians and Ultramontanes. He has ruined himself; 
that is, if he was ever worth anything." 

General Reille's name again brought up the question of 
Napoleon's surrender. "The King thought," said the Chan- 
cellor, "on reading Napoleon's letter, that it meant more for 
us than it did. ' He must at least surrender Metz to us,' said 
the King to me. I replied, *I do not know, your Majesty; we 
are not aware what power he still has over the troops.' The 
Emperor should not have needlessly surrendered himself as a 
prisoner, but have made peace with us. His generals would 
have followed him." The Minister then again related the in- 
cident of the letter Weimar wished to write to the Emperor 
Alexander ; and it appeared that the day before yesterday the 
Chief had, in a moment of irritation, represented the expressions 
which he had used in speaking to the Grand Duke as stronger 
than they actually were. According to the present account, 
Weimar said, in conclusion, that his only object was a patriotic 
one. He (the Minister) replied he quite believed that, but it 
would not make the letter any more useful. The letter has 
probably not been sent off. 

The question of the bombardment then came up, and, in 
connection therewith, the intrigues which are now being carried 
on by Bishop Dupanloup, and the part he played in the opposi- 
tion at the Vatican Council. " Women and freemasons," said 
the Chief, " are chiefly responsible if our operations against 
Paris are not conducted as energetically as they should be. 
Dupanloup has influenced Augusta. . . . He also wrote me a 
pile of letters, and took me in to such an extent that I sent 
them to Twickenham." (The Chancellor must have meant 
Chislehurst.) " He must be packed off when our people get to 
Orleans, so that Von der Tann may not be swindled by him." 
. . . "That reminds me," continued the Chief, "that the 
Pope has written a very nice letter to the French Bishops, or 



to several of them, saying that they should not enter into any 
understanding with the Garibaldians." 

Somebody having expressed anxiety about some matter 
which I was unable to catch, the Chief observed : " A more 
important question for me — indeed, the most important — is 
what will be done at Villa Coublay ; that is the main point. 
The Crown Prince said recently, when I mentioned the matter 
to him, * I am ready to give up the command for that purpose.' 
I felt like replying, * And I am prepared to assume it.' Give me 
the post of Commander-in-Chief for twenty-four hours, and I 
will take it upon myself. I would then give one command 
only : * Commence the bombardment.' " 

Villa Coublay is a place not far from Versailles, where the 
siege park has been collected and still remains, instead of being 
placed in position. Bucher tells me that the Chancellor has 
appealed directly to the King to hasten the bombardment. The 
Chief continued : " The assertion of the generals that they have 
not enough ammunition is untrue. They do not want to begin 
because the Heir Apparent does not wish it. He does not 
wish it because his wife and his mother-in-law are against it. 

''They have brought together three hundred cannon and 
fifty or sixty mortars, and five hundred rounds of ammunition 
for each gun. That is certainly enough. I have been speak- 
ing to artillerymen, who said that they had not used half as 
much ammunition at Strasburg as they have collected here ; 
and Strasburg was a Gibraltar compared to Paris. It would 
be easy to fire the barracks on Mont Valerien, and if the forts 
of Issy and Vanvres were properly shelled so that the garrisons 
should be compelled to bolt, the enceinte (of course we know it) 
would be of little importance. The ditch is not broader than 
the length of this room. I am convinced that if we poured 
shells into the city itself for five or six days, and they found 
out that our guns reached farther than theirs — that is to say, 
9,000 yards — Paris would give in. True enough the wealthier 
quarters are on this side of the city, and it is a matter of indif- 
ference to the people at Belleville whether we blow them to 
pieces or not ; indeed, they are pleased when we destroy the 
houses of the richer classes. As a matter of fact, we ought to 
have attacked Paris from another direction ; or still better, left 
it altogether alone, and continued our forward march. Now, 


however, that we have begun, we must set about the affair in 
earnest. Starving them out may last a long time, perhaps till 
the spring. At any rate, they have flour enough up to Janu- 
ary. ... If we had begun the bombardment at the right time, 
there would have been no question of the Loire army. After 
the engagement at Orleans, where Von der Tann was obliged 
to retire, the military authorities (not I) regarded our position 
in Versailles as critical. Had we begun the bombardment four 
weeks ago, we should now in all probability be in Paris, and 
that is the main point. As it is, however, the Parisians imagine 
that we are forbidden to fire by London, St. Petersburg, and 
Vienna ; while, on the other hand, the neutral Powers believe 
that we are not able to do so. The true reason, however, will 
be known at a future time. One of its consequences will be to 
lead to a restriction of personal rule." 

In the evening I telegraphed to London that the Reichstag 
had voted another hundred million thalers for the continuation 
of the war with France, eight social democrats alone opposing 
the grant. Also that Manteuffel has occupied Amiens. Sev- 
eral paragraphs were afterwards written for the Norddeutschey 
including one (on the directions of the Chief) in which the 
moderate demands of the Chancellor in the negotiations with 
Bavaria were defended as being not only right and fair, but 
also wise and prudent. I said that the object was not so much 
to secure this or that desirable concession from the authorities 
at Munich as to make the South German States feel satisfied in 
forming part of the new organisation of united Germany. Any 
pressure or coercion for the purpose of obtaining further con- 
cessions would, in view of the circumstance that they had 
fulfilled their patriotic duty, be an act of ingratitude ; while, in 
addition, it would have been, above all things, impolitic to 
show ourselves more exacting in our demands upon our allies. 
The discontent which would have resulted from such an exer- 
cise of force would have far outweighed half a dozen more 
favourable clauses in the Treaty. That discontent would soon 
have shown the neutral Powers, such as Austria, where to 
insert the thin edge of the wedge in order to loosen and ulti- 
mately destroy the unity which had been achieved. 

At dinner I suggested to Bucher that it might be well to 
ask the Chief's leave to hint in the press at the real cause of 




the postponement of the bombardment. He agreed with me 
that it would, and added : ** I myself have already vehemently 
attacked Augusta in the newspapers." On the Chancellor 
sending for me in the evening, I said : " May I venture to ask 
your Excellency a question ? Would you have any objection 
if I made a communication, in an indirect way, to non-official 
organs respecting the causes of the postponement of the bom- 
bardment, in the sense in which they have repeatedly been 
discussed at table ? " He reflected for a moment, and then 
said, " Do as you like." I accordingly wrote two paragraphs 
— one for the Vossische Zeittmg, and one for the Weser ZeiUmg, 
which I had copied out by another hand in Berlin, and for- 
warded to their destination. 

One of these paragraphs ran as follows : — 

"Versailles, November 29th. It has been asserted here 
for some considerable time past that the real cause of the post- 
ponement of the bombardment is not so much a scarcity of 
ammunition for the siege guns that were brought here weeks 
ago, nor the strength of the forts and ramparts of Paris; in 
short, that the delay is not due to military considerations, but 
rather to the influence of very highly placed ladies, and — can 
it be credited ? — of freemasons. I can assure you, on very good 
authority, that these rumours are not unfounded. I have no 
reason to apprehend a denial when I add that the interference 
of one of these ladies has been prompted by a well-known 
French prelate, who took a prominent part in the opposition 
at the Vatican Council. For the moment we would only ask 
a few questions : Is it true humanity to let masses of gallant 
soldiers fall a prey to the hardships of the investment by post- 
poning an artillery attack merely in order to save a hostile city 
from damage } Is it good policy to let the impression produced 
by Sedan upon the neutral Powers be frittered away by such a 
postponement } Is that true freemasonry which troubles itself 
with political questions } It was thought hitherto that politics 
were not permitted to enter into the German lodges." 

Tuesday^ November 29///. — In the afternoon I sent off an- 
other article on the Treaty with Bavaria, which is to be repro- 
duced and circulated in Berlin. It is becoming more and more 
difficult to satisfy the people there. 

Lieutenant-General von Hartrott joined us at dinner. The 


distribution of the Iron Cross having been mentioned, the Chief 
observed : " The army doctors should receive the black and 
white ribbon. They are under fire, and it requires much more 
courage and determination to quietly allow one's self to be shot 
at than to rush forward to the attack. . . . Blumenthal said 
to me that properly speaking he could do nothing to deserve 
the Cross, as he was bound in duty to keep out of danger of 
being shot. For that reason when in battle he always sought 
a position from which he could see well but could not be easily 
hit. And he was perfectly right. A general who exposes him- 
self unnecessarily ought to be put under arrest." 

The Chancellor then remarked suddenly : " The King told 
me an untruth to-day. I asked him if the bombardment was 
not to commence, and he replied that he had ordered it. But 
I knew immediately that that was not true. I know him. He 
cannot lie, or at least not in such a way that it cannot be de- 
tected. He at once changes colour, and it was particularly 
noticeable when he replied to my question to-day. When I 
looked at him straight into his eyes he could not stand it." 
The conversation then turned upon the conduct of the war. 
The Minister said : " Humility alone leads to victory ; pride 
and self-conceit to an opposite result." 

The Chancellor, speaking of his friend Dietze, talked of his 
natural inborn heartiness — politesse dtt ccetir. Abeken asked if 
that term was originally French, as Goethe uses it — Hoflichkeit 
des Herzens ? " It must come from the German, I fancy." " It 
certainly does," replied the Chief. " It is only to be found 
amongst the Germans. I should call it the politeness of good- 
will — good nature in the best sense of the word, the politeness 
of helpful benevolent feeling. You find that amongst our com- 
mon soldiers, although, of course, it is sometimes expressed 
rather crudely. The French have not got it. They only know 
the politeness of hatred and envy. It would be easier to find 
something of the kind amongst the English," he added; and 
then went on to praise Odo Russell, whose pleasant, natural 
manner he greatly appreciated. " At first one thing aroused a 
little suspicion against him in my mind. I have always heard 
and found that Englishmen who know French well are not 
worth much, and he speaks quite excellent French. But he 
can also express himself very well in German." 



At dessert the Minister said : " I recognise that I eat too 
much, or, more correctly, too much at a time. It is a pity that 
I cannot get rid of the absurd practice of only eating once a 
day. Formerly it was still worse. In the morning I drank my 
tea and ate nothing until 5 o'clock in the evening, while I smoked 
incessantly. That did me a great deal of harm. Now, on the 
advice of my doctor, I take at least two eggs in the morning 
and smoke little. But I should eat oftener ; yet if I take any- 
thing late I cannot sleep, as I only digest while awake. This 
morning, however, I got up early. I was waked by the firing 
just at the time when I sleep best, that is between 7 and 9 
o'clock, and as it seemed to be near I sent to inquire if the King 
was going to the scene of the engagement. Otherwise he might 
start suddenly and go nobody knows where, or where nothing is 
to be seen." 

While at tea the conversation turned once more on the now 
constant theme of the postponement of the bombardment, and 
afterwards on the Geneva Convention, which the Minister said 
must be denounced, as it was impossible to conduct war in that 

" The principal reason why the bombardment is delayed," 
said the Chancellor, "is the sentimentality of the Queen of 
England and the interference of Queen Augusta. . . . That 
seems to be a characteristic of the Hohenzollerns — their women 
folk have always a great influence upon them. It was not so 
with Frederick the Great, but with his successor and the late 
King, as well as the present Most Gracious and his future 
Majesty. The most curious example is that of Prince Charles, 
who is anything but a good husband, and yet depends upon his 
wife ; indeed, he is thoroughly afraid of her and is guided by her 
wishes. . . . But it is somewhat different with these two (the 
King and the Crown Prince). They want to be praised. They 
like to have it said in the English and French press that they 
are considerate and generous. They find that the Germans 
praise them enough as it is." 

It appears that Delbriick has not expressed himself very 
clearly in his telegram respecting the prospect of the agree- 
ment with Bavaria being sanctioned by the Diet. It seems as 
if there were not sufficient members present to form the neces- 
sary quorum, and that it would be opposed both by the Pro- 


gressists and National Liberals. The Chief observed : " So far 
as the Progressists are concerned, their conduct is consistent. 
They wish to return to the state of affairs which prevailed in 
1849. But the National Liberals.^ If they will not have now 
what they were striving for with all their might at the begin- 
ning of the year, in February, and what it now depends upon 
them to secure, then we must dissolve. The new elections will 
weaken the Progressist party still more, and some of the Na- 
tional Liberals will also lose their seats. But in that case the 
Treaties would not be completed, Bavaria would reconsider the 
matter, Beust would put his finger in the pie, and we do not 
know what the result would be. I cannot well go to Berlin. 
It is a very uncomfortable journey and takes up a lot of time, 
and besides I am really wanted here." 

Proceeding from this point the Minister spoke of the posi- 
tion of affairs in 1848. " At that period the situation was for a 
long time very favourable for the unification of Germany under 
Prussia. The smaller Sovereigns were for the most part 
powerless and despondent. If they could only save their 
money, their domains, and their appropriations, they were pre- 
pared to consent to everything. The Austrians were engaged 
with Hungary and Italy. The Tsar Nicholas would not have 
intervened at that time. If they had only acted in a resolute 
way previous to May, 1849, ^^^ come to terms with the smaller 
States, they would doubtless have carried the Sputh with them, 
particularly if the Wiirtemberg and Bavarian armies joined the 
Baden revolution, which was not impossible at that stage. 
Time was lost, however, through hesitation and half measures, 
and so the opportunity was thrown away." 

About II o'clock another telegram arrived from Verdy re- 
specting this morning's sortie, which was directed against La 
Haye. Five hundred red breeches were made prisoners. The 
Chief bitterly regretted that further prisoners should be taken, 
and that it was not possible to shoot them down on the spot. 
" We have more than enough of them, while the Parisians have 
the advantage of getting rid of so many mouths to feed, which 
must now be supplied by us, and for whom we can hardly find 

Wednesday ^ November ^oth. — Wrote fully to Treitschke, 
giving him the reasons why the demands which he and those 



of his way of thinking consider absolutely necessary had not 
been made upon the Bavarians. Arranged to have a similar 
communication made to Schmidt. 

The Chief seems to be seriously considering the idea of ask- 
ing the King to relieve him of his office. According to Bucher, 
he is already on the point of resigning. 

"The Chief," he said, "informed me of something to-day 
which nobody else knows. He is seriously considering whether 
he will not break with the King." I said that in that case 
I should also take my leave. I did not wish to serve under 
any one else. Bucher: "Nor I either. I, too, would then 

At dinner, at which Prince Putbus and Odo Russell were 
present, the Chief related that he had once tried to use his 
knowledge of State secrets for the purpose of speculating in 
stocks, but that his attempt was not successful. " I was com- 
missioned in Berlin," he said, " to speak to Napoleon on the 
question of Neuchatel. It must have been in the spring of 1857. 
I was to inquire as to his attitude towards that question. Now, 
I knew that his answer would be favourable, and that this would 
mean a war with Switzerland. Accordingly, on my way through 
Frankfort, where I lived at that time, I called upon Rothschild, 
whom I knew well, and told him I intended to sell certain stock 
which I held, and which showed no disposition to rise. ' I 
would not do that,' said Rothschild. *That stock has good 
prospects. You will see.' ' Yes,' I said, * but if you knew 
the object of my journey you would think otherwise.' He re- 
plied that, however that might be, he could not advise me to 
sell. But I knew better, sold out, and departed. In Paris, 
Napoleon was very pleasant and amiable. It was true he could 
not agree, as the King wanted to let us march through Alsace- 
Lorraine, which would create great excitement in France, but in 
every other respect he entirely approved of our plans. It could 
only be a matter of satisfaction to him if that nest of democrats 
were cleared out. I was, therefore, so far successful. But I 
had not reckoned with my King, who had in the meantime, be- 
hind my back, made different arrangements — probably out of 
consideration for Austria ; and so the affair was dropped. 
There was no war, and my stock rose steadily from that time 
forward, and I had reason to regret parting with it." 


Villa Coublay and the bombardment were then referred to, 
and the alleged impossibility of bringing up at once the neces- 
sary supply of ammunition. The Chief said : " I have already 
informed the august gentlemen a couple of times that we have 
here a whole herd of horses that must be ridden out daily merely 
for exercise. Why should they not be employed for once to 
better purpose ? " 

It was mentioned that the Palazzo Caffarelli in Rome had 
been purchased for the German Embassy, and both Russell 
and Abeken said it was a very fine building. The Chancellor 
observed : " Well, we have also handsome houses elsewhere, in 
Paris and in London. According to Continental ideas, however, 
the London house is too small. Bernstorff has so little room 
that he has to give up his own apartments when he has a re- 
ception or any other function of the kind. His Secretary of 
Embassy is better off in that respect. The Embassy in Paris 
is handsome and well situated. Indeed, it is probably the best 
Embassy in Paris, and represents a considerable money value, 
so that it has already occurred to me whether it might not be 
well to sell it and give the interest on the capital to the Ambas- 
sador as an allowance for rent. The interest on two and a half 
million francs would be a considerable addition to his salary, 
which only amounts to one hundred thousand francs. But on 
thinking the matter over more, I found that it would not do. It 
is not becoming, not worthy of a great State, that its Ambassa- 
dor should live in a hired house, where he would be subject to 
notice to quit, and on leaving would have to remove the archives 
in a cart. We ought, and must have, our own houses every- 
where." ... " Our London house is an exceptional case. It 
belongs to the King, and everything depends on the way in 
which the Ambassador knows how to look after his own inter- 
ests. It may happen that the King receives no rent — that 
actually does occur sometimes." 

The Chief spoke very highly of Napier, the former English 
Ambassador in Berlin. " He was very easy to get on with. 
Buchanan was also a good man, rather dry, perhaps, but abso- 
lutely trustworthy. Now we have Loftus. The position of an 
English Ambassador in Berlin has its own special duties and 
difficulties, if only on account of the personal relations of the 
two Royal families. It demands a great deal of tact and care." 


(Presumably a quiet hint that Loftus does not fulfil those re- 

The Minister then led the conversation on to Grammont. 
He said : " Grammont and OUivier strike me also as a pretty- 
pair ! If that had happened to me — if I had been the cause of 
such disasters, I would at least have joined a regiment, or, for 
the matter of that, have become a franctireur, even if I had had 
to swing for it. A tall, strong, coarse fellow like Grammont 
would be exactly suited for a soldier's life." 

Russell mentioned having once seen Grammont out shooting 
in Rome dressed in blue velvet. **Yes," added the Chief, "he 
is a good sportsman. He has the strength of muscle required 
for it. He would have made an excellent gamekeeper. But as 
a Minister for Foreign Affairs, one can hardly conceive how 
Napoleon came to select him." 

The Minister joined us at the tea-table about 10 o'clock, and 
referred again to the bombardment. He said : " I did not from 
the very beginning wish to have Paris invested. If what the 
general staff said at Ferri^res were correct, namely, that they 
could dispose of a couple of the forts in three days, and then 
attack the weak etueinte, it would have been all right. But it 
was a mistake to let 60,000 regulars keep an army of 200,000 
men engaged in watching them." " One month up to Sedan, 
and here we have already spent three months, for to-morrow is 
the 1st of December. If we had telegraphed immediately after 
Sedan for siege guns we should be now in the city, and there 
would be no intervention on the part of the neutral Powers. If 
I had known that three months ago, I should have been ex- 
tremely anxious. The danger of intervention on the part of the 
neutral Powers increases daily. It begins in a friendly way, 
but it may end very badly." Keudell remarked : "The idea of 
not bombarding first arose here." "Yes," replied the Chief, 
"through the English letters to the Crown Prince." 

Thursday^ December \st. — We were joined at dinner by a 
first lieutenant. Von Saldern, who took part in the last engage- 
ment between the loth Army Corps and the Loire army. Ac- 
cording to him, that corps was for a considerable time surrounded 
by the superior French force at Beaune la Rolande, the enemy 
endeavouring to force their way through one of our wings towards 
Fontainebleau. Our soldiers defended themselves with the 

VOL. I. — s 


greatest gallantry and determination for seven hours, Wedel's 
troops and the men of the i6th regiment specially distinguish- 
ing themselves. " We made over 1600 prisoners," said Saldern, 
" and the total loss of the French is estimated at four to five 
thousand." "I should have been better pleased," said the 
Chief, " if they had all been corpses. It is simply a disadvan- 
tage to us now to make prisoners." 

The Chief afterwards gave Abeken instructions respecting 
communications to be made to the King. The Chancellor 
looked through a number of despatches and reports with him. 
Pointing to one document he said : " Do not give him that with- 
out an explanation. Tell him how the matter arose, otherwise 
he will misunderstand it. That long despatch from Bernstorff 

— well, you can show him that also. But the newspaper article 
enclosed — the gentlemen of the Embassy take things very easy 

— I have already said frequently that such articles must be 
translated, or, better still, that they should be accompanied by a 
precis. And tell his Majesty also," said the Minister in conclu- 
sion, " that, properly speaking, we ought not to allow the French- 
man to join the Conference in London" (the approaching Con- 
ference on the revision of the Paris Treaty of 1856), "as he 
would represent a Government which is not recognised by the 
Powers, and which will have no legal existence for a long time 
to come. We can do it to please Russia in this question. At 
any rate, if he begins to speak of other matters he must at once 
be sent about his business." 

The Chief then related the following incident : ** To-day, 
after calling upon Roon, I made a round which may prove to 
have been useful. I inspected Marie Antoinette's apartment 
in the palace, and then I thought I would see how the wounded 
were getting on. The servant who acted as my guide had a 
pass-key, so I decided not to go in by the main entrance, but 
by the back way, I asked one of the hospital attendants what 
food the people had. Not very much. A little soup, which 
was supposed to be bouillon, with broken bread and some grains 
of rice, which were not even boiled soft. There was hardly 
any meat fat in it. 'And how about wine, and do they get 
any beer t ' I asked. They got about half a glass of wine dur- 
ing the day, he said. I inquired of another, who had had none, 
and then of a third, who had had some three days ago and none 


since then. I then went on to question several of the men, in 
all about a dozen, down to the Poles, who could not understand 
me, but showed their pleasure at somebody taking an interest 
in them by smiling. So that our poor wounded soldiers do not 
get what they ought to, and suffer from cold besides, because 
the rooms must not be warmed for fear of injuring the pictures. 
As if the life of one of our soldiers was not worth more than 
all the trashy pictures in the palace ! The servant told me also 
that the oil lamps only remained alight until 11 o'clock, and 
that after that the men have to lie in the dark until morning. 
I had previously spoken to a non-commissioned officer, who was 
wounded in the foot. He said he did not want to complain, 
although things could be much better. Some consideration was 
paid to him, but as to the others ! A member of the Bavarian 
Ambulance Corps now plucked up courage, and said that wine 
and beer had been provided, but that half of it had probably 
been intercepted somewhere ; it was the same with hot food 
and other presents. I then made my way to the chief surgeon. 

* How about provisions for the wounded ? ' I asked. * Do they 
get enough to eat.?' * Here is the bill of fare,' he replied. 

* That is no good to me,' I said ; ' the people cannot eat paper. 
Do they get wine ? ' ' Half a litre daily.' * Excuse me, but 
that is not true. I have questioned the men, and I cannot 
believe they were lying when they told me that they had not 
received any.' * I call God to witness that everything here is 
done properly and according to instructions. Please come with 
me and I will question the men in your presence.' * I will do 
nothing of the kind,' I answered; 'but measures shall be 
taken to have them questioned by the auditor as to whether 
they have received what has been ordered for them by the 
inspector.' He turned deadly pale — I see him now — an old 
wound showed up on his face. * That would be a great reflec- 
tion upon me,' he said. * Certainly,' I replied, ' and it ought to 
be. I shall take care that the affair is inquired into — and 
speedily.'^ . . . What I should like best would be to induce 
the King to visit the wounded with me." He afterwards added : 

1 These suspicions, though fully justified by appearances, were subsequently 
shown to be for the greater part unfounded, except that there was inadequate pro- 
vision for the requirements of the wounded. I reproduce the episode as evidence of 
the Minister's usual humane feeling and love of justice. 


"We have two classes in particular amongst whom frauds 
occur : the weevils that have to do with the commissariat and 
the officials in the public works department, especially in the 
water works. Then the doctors. I remember not long ago — 
it must be about a year and a half ago — there was a great 
inquiry into frauds connected with the passing of recruits for 
the army, in which, to my amazement, some thirty doctors were 

About 10.30 P.M. the Chief joined us at tea. After a while 
he remarked : " The newspapers are dissatisfied with the Bava- 
rian Treaty. I expected as much from the beginning. They 
are displeased that certain officials are called Bavarian, although 
they will have to conform entirely to our laws. And the same 
with regard to the army. The beer tax is also not to their 
liking, as if we had not had it for years past in the Zollverein. 
And so on with a crowd of other objections, although after all the 
important point has been attained and properly secured." . . . 
"They talk as if we had been waging war against Bavaria as we 
did in 1866 against Saxony, although this time we have Bavaria 
as an ally on our side." . . . " Before approving the treaty they 
want to wait and see whether the unity of Germany will be 
secured in the form they prefer. They can wait a long time 
for that. The course they are taking leads only to fresh delays, 
while speedy action is necessary. If we hesitate, the devil will 
find time to sow dissensions. The treaty gives us a great deal. 
Whoever wants to have everything runs the risk of getting 
nothing. They are not content with what has been achieved. 
They require more uniformity. If they would only remember 
the position of affairs five years ago, and what they would then 
have been satisfied with ! " . . . "A Constituent Assembly ! 
But what if the King of Bavaria should not permit representa- 
tives to be elected to it? The Bavarian people would not 
compel him, nor would I. It is easy to find fault when one has 
no proper idea of the conditions which govern the situation." 

The Minister then came to speak on another subject : " I 
have just read a report on the surprise of the Unna battalion. 
Some of the inhabitants of Chatillon took part in it — others, it 
is true, hid our people. It is a wonder that they did not burn 
down the town in their first outburst of anger. Afterwards, of 
course, in cold blood that would not do." 



After a short pause, the Chief took some coins out of his 
pocket and played with them for a moment, remarking at the 
same time : " It is surprising how many respectably dressed 
beggars one meets with here. There were some at Reims, but 
it is much worse here." . . . " How seldom one now sees a 
gold piece with the head of Louis Philippe or Charles X. ! When 
I was young, between twenty and thirty, coins of Louis XVL 
and of the fat Louis XVIH. were still to be seen. Even the 
expression * louis d'or * is no longer usual with us. In polite 
circles one speaks of a friedrich d'or." The Chancellor then 
balanced a napoleon on the tip of his middle finger, as if he 
were weighing it, and continued : " A hundred million double 
napoleons d'or would represent about the amount of the war 
indemnity up to the present — later on it will be more, four 
thousand million francs. Forty thousand thalers in gold would 
make a hundredweight, thirty hundredweight would make a 
load for a heavy two-horse waggon (I know that because I once 
had to convey fourteen thousand thalers in gold from Berlin to 
my own house. What a weight it was !) — that would be about 
800 waggon loads." " It would not take so long to collect the 
carts for that purpose as it does for the ammunition for the 
bombardment," observed some one, who, like most of us, was 
losing patience at the slow progress of the preparations. 
" Yes," said the Chief ; '* Roon, however, told me the other 
day he had several hundred carts at Nanteuil, which could be 
used for the transport of ammunition. Moreover, some of the 
waggons that are now drawn by six horses could do with four 
for a time, and the two spare horses thus could be used for 
bringing up ammunition. We have already 318 guns here, 
but they want forty more, and Roon says he could have 
them also brought up. The others, however, won't hear of 

Hatzfeld afterwards said : " It is only six or seven weeks 
since they altered their minds. At Ferri^res, while we were 
still on good terms with them, Bronsart and Verdy said we could 
level the forts of Issy and Vanvres to the ground in thirty-six 
hours, and then attack Paris itself. Later on it was suddenly 
found to be impossible." " Because of the letters received from 
London," exclaimed Bismarck-Bohlen. I asked what Moltke 
thought of the matter. '* He does not trouble himself about 


it ! " answered Hatzfeld. But Bucher declared that Moltke 
wanted the bombardment to take place. 

Friday^ December 2nd. — I see Neininger in the morning 
and learn that he succeeded in obtaining an audience from the 
Chief by playing the informer. He hinted to a Dr. Schuster of 
Geneva that "there might possibly be collusion between the 
foreign settlement collected round headquarters, and the person- 
nel oi the Government of National Defence," and also that there 
were "fresh symptoms of intimate relations being maintained 
across the German investing lines with the Oriental colony at 
Versailles." Schuster managed to convey these hints to the 
Minister. The "Oriental colony," however (a title which is 
intended to apply chiefly to Lowensohn, and after him to Bam- 
berger), appears to be innocent, and the intrigue to have been 
contrived merely for the purpose of providing a better position 
for Neininger on the Moniteur by securing the dismissal of the 
other two journalists. 

Subsequently wrote some letters and articles again setting 
forth the Chief's views in the matter of the Bavarian Treaty, 
and translated for the King the leading article in the Times on 
Gortchakoff's reply to Granville's despatch. 

Alten, Lehndorff, and a dragoon officer, Herr von Thadden, 
were the Chief's guests at dinner. 

The Chief said that he had taken measures for providing our 
sentries with more comfortable quarters. " Up to the present 
they occupied Madame Jesse's coach-house, which has no fire- 
place. That would not do any longer, so I ordered the gar- 
dener to clear out half of the greenhouse for them. * But 
Madame's plants will be frozen,' said the gardener's wife. * A 
great pity,' said I. * I suppose it would be better if the soldiers 
froze.' " 

The Chief then referred to the danger of the Reichstag 
rejecting, or even merely amending, the treaty with Bavaria. 
"I am very anxious about it. People have no idea what the 
position is. We are balancing ourselves on the point of a light- 
ning conductor. If we lose the equilibrium, which at much pains 
I have succeeded in establishing, we fall to the ground. They 
want more than can be obtained without coercion, and more 
than they would have been very pleased to accept before 1866. 
If at that time they had got but half what they are getting 




to-day ! No ; they must needs improve upon it and introduce 
more unity, more uniformity ; but if they change so much as a 
comma, fresh negotiations must be undertaken. Where are 
they to take place ? Here in Versailles ? And if we cannot 
bring them to a close before the ist of January — which many 
of the people in Munich would be glad of — then German unity 
is lost, probably for years, and the Austrians can set to work 
again in Munich." 

Mushrooms dressed in two ways were the first dish after the 
soup. "These must be eaten in a thoughtful spirit," said the 
Chief, "as they are a present from some soldiers who found 
them growing in a quarry or a cellar. The cook has made an 
excellent sauce for them. A still more welcome gift, and cer- 
tainly a rare one, was made to me the other day by the — what 
a shame ! I have quite forgotten. What regiment was it sent 
me the roses ? " " The 46th," replied Bohlen. " Yes ; it was 
a bouquet of roses plucked under fire, probably in a garden 
near the outposts." " By the way, that reminds me that I rhet 
a Polish soldier in the hospital who cannot read German. He 
would very much like to have a Polish prayer book. Does any- 
body happen to have something of that kind .? " Alten said no, 
but he could give him some Polish newspapers. The Chief: 
" That won't do. He would not understand them, and besides 
they stir up the people against us. But perhaps Radziwill has 
something. A Polish novel would do — Pan Twardowski or 
something of that kind." Alten promised to see if he could 
get anything. 

Mention was made of Ducrot, who in all likelihood com- 
manded the French forces engaged in to-day's sortie, and it 
was suggested he had good reason not to allow himself to be 
made prisoner. " Certainly," said the Minister. " He will 
either get himself killed in action, or if he has not courage 
enough for that, which I am rather inclined to believe, he will 
make off in a balloon." 

Some one said Prince Wittgenstein (if I am not mistaken, a 
Russian aide-de-camp) would also be glad to leave Paris. 

Alten added : " Yes, in order that he might go in again. I 
fancy it is a kind of sport for him." 

The Chief : " That might be all very well for a person who 
inspired confidence. But I never trusted him, and when he 


wished to return to Paris recently, neither I nor the general 
staff wanted to let him through. He succeeded in obtaining 
permission surreptitiously through the good nature of the King. 
Never mind. Possibly things may yet be discovered about him 
that will ruin him in St. Petersburg." 

The subject of Stock Exchange speculation was again intro- 
duced, and the Chief once more denied the possibility of turn- 
ing to much account the always very limited knowledge which 
one may have of political events beforehand. Such events only 
affect the Bourse afterwards, and the day when that is going to 
happen cannot be foreseen. " Of course, if one could contrive 
things so as to produce a fall — but that is dishonourable ! 
Grammont has done so, according to what Russell recently 
stated. He doubled his fortune in that way. One might al- 
most say that he brought about the war with that object. 
Moustier also carried on that sort of business — not for him- 
self, but with the fortune of his mistress — and when it was on 
the point of being discovered, he poisoned himself. One might 
take advantage of one's position in a rather less dishonest way 
by arranging to have the Bourse quotations from all the Stock 
Exchanges sent off with the political despatches by obliging 
officials abroad. The political despatches take precedence of 
the Bourse telegrams, so that one would gain from twenty min- 
utes to half an hour. One would then want a quick-footed Jew 
to secure this advantage. I know people who have done it. 
In that way one might earn fifteen hundred to fifteen thousand 
thalers daily, and in a few years that makes a handsome fort- 
une. But, all the same, it remains ugly ; and my son shall not 
say of me that that was how I made him a rich man. He can 
become rich in some other way — through speculation with his 
own property, through the sale of timber, by marriage, or some- 
thing of the kind. I was much better off before I was made 
Chancellor than I am now. My grants have ruined me. My 
affairs have been embarrassed ever since. Previously I regarded 
myself as a simple country gentleman ; now that I, to a certain 
extent, belong to the peerage, my requirements are increasing 
and my estates bring me nothing. As Minister at Frankfort I 
always had a balance to my credit, and also in St. Petersburg, 
where I was not obliged to entertain, and did not." 

In the afternoon Friedlander called upon me with an invita- 


tion, which I was obliged to decline. Our fat friend knew ex- 
actly why the bombardment did not take place. ** Blumenthal 
will not agree to it because the Crown Prince does not want 
it," he said; ''and behind him are the two Victorias." So an 
artillery officer told him a few days ago. 

Addendum. — According to a pencil note which I have now 
laid hands on, Bohlen remarked yesterday at dinner that he 
understood many valuable pictures and manuscripts removed 
by the French from Germany had not been returned. Some 
one else observed that it would be difficult to put this right 
now. **Well," said the Chief, "we could take others of equal 
value in their stead. We could, for instance, pack up the best 
of the pictures out of the Gallery here." "Yes, and sell them 
to the Americans," added Bohlen ; "they would give us a good 
price for them." 

According to another note the Chancellor related (doubtless 
on the occasion when Holnstein dined with us) : " In Crehanges 
the Augustenburger again tricked me into shaking hands with 
him. A Bavarian colonel or general came over to me and held 
out his hand, which I took. I could not put a name to the 
face, and when I had, it was too late. If I could only come 
across him again, I would say to him, ' You treacherously 
purloined a hand from me at Crehanges; will you please re- 
store it } ' " 

I afterwards wrote an article on the neutrality of Luxem- 
burg, and the perfidious way in which people there are taking 
advantage of it to help the French in every sort of way. It ran 
as follows: — We declared at the commencement of the war 
that we would respect the neutrality of the Grand Duchy, the 
neutrality of its government and people being thereby assumed. 
That condition, however, has not been fulfilled, the Luxem- 
burgers having been guilty of flagrant breaches of neutrality, 
although we on our part have kept our promise in spite of the 
inconvenience to which we have often been put, especially in 
connection with the transport of our wounded. We have already 
had occasion to complain of the fortress of Thionville having 
been provisioned by trains despatched at night with the assist- 
ance of the railway officials and police authorities of the Grand 
Duchy. After the capitulation of Metz numbers of French 
soldiers passed through Luxemburg with the object of return- 


ing to France and rejoining the French army. The French 
Vice-Consul opened a regular office at the Luxemburg railway- 
station, where soldiers were provided with money and passports 
for their journey. The Grand Ducal Government permitted all 
this to go on without making any attempt to prevent it. They 
cannot, therefore, complain if in future military operations we 
pay no regard to the neutrality of the country, of if we demand 
compensation for the injury done by breaches of neutrality due 
to such culpable negligence. 

Sunday ^ December ^th. — We were joined at dinner by Rog- 
genbach, a former Baden Minister, and von Niethammer, a 
member of the Bavarian Ambulance Corps, whose acquaintance 
the Chief made recently in the hospital. 

The Chief spoke at first of having again visited the wounded, 
and afterwards added : — " Leaving Frankfort and St. Peters- 
burg out of account, I have now been longer here than in any 
other foreign town during my whole life. We shall spend 
Christmas here, which we had not expected to do, and we may 
remain at Versailles till Easter and see the trees grow green 
again, whilst we wait for news of the Loire army. Had we 
only known we might have planted asparagus in the garden 

The Minister afterwards said, addressing Roggenbach : — 
"I have just looked through the newspaper extracts. How 
they do abuse the treaties ! They simply tear them into shreds. 
The National Zeitungy the Koelnische, — the Weser Zeitung is 
still the most reasonable, as it always is. Of course one must 
put up with criticism ; but then one is responsible if the negotia- 
tions come to nothing, while the critics have no responsibility. 
I am indifferent as to their censure so long as the thing gets 
through the Reichstag. History may say that the wretched 
Chancellor ought to have done better ; but I was responsible. 
If the Reichstag introduces amendments every German Diet 
can do the same, and then the thing will drag on and we shall 
not be able to secure the peace we desire and need. We can- 
not demand the cession of Alsace if no political entity is 
created, if there is no Germany to cede it to." 

The question of the peace negotiations to follow on the 
approaching capitulation of Paris was then discussed, and the 
difficulties which might arise. The Chief said : — " Favre and 


Trochu may say, * We are not the Government. We were part 
of it at one time, but now that we have surrendered we are 
private persons. I am nothing more than Citizen Trochu.' But 
at that point I should try a Uttle coercion on the Parisians. I 
should say to them : * I hold you, two million people, responsi- 
ble in your own persons. I shall let you starve for twenty-four 
hours unless you agree to our demands.' Yes, and yet another 
four-and-twenty hours, come what might of it. 

"I would stick to my point — but the King, the Crown 
Prince, the women who force their sentimental views upon 
them, and certain secret European connections — I can deal 
with those in front of me — but those who stand behind me, 
behind my back, or rather who weigh upon me so that I can- 
not breathe ! — people for whom the German cause and Ger- 
man victories are not the main question, but, rather, their 
anxiety to be praised in English newspapers. Ah, if one were 
but the Landgrave ! — I could trust myself to be hard enough. 
But, unfortunately, one is not the Landgrave.^ Quite recently, 
in their maudlin solicitude for the Parisians, they have again 
brought forward a thoroughly foolish scheme. Great stores 
of provisions from London and Belgium are to be collected for 
the Parisians. The storehouses are to be within our lines, and 
our soldiers are merely to look at them, but not to touch them, 
however much they may themselves suffer from scarcity and 
hunger. These supplies are to prevent the Parisians starving 
when they shall have capitulated. We, in this house, it is true, 
have enough, but the troops are on short commons ; yet they 
must suffer in order that the Parisians, when they learn that 
supplies have been collected for them, may postpone their 
capitulation till they have eaten their last loaf and slaughtered 
their last horse. I shall not be consulted, otherwise I'd rather 
be hanged than consent to it. But I am, nevertheless, respon- 
sible. I was imprudent enough to call attention to the famine 
that must ensue. It is true I mentioned it merely to the diplo- 
matists. But they have thus become aware of the fact. Other- 
wise it would not have occurred to them." 

Swiss cheese having been handed round, some one raised 
the question whether cheese and wine went well together. 

1 A reference to the popular Thuringian ballad of " The Landgrave and the 


" Some descriptions with certain wines," was the Minister's 
decision. " Not strong ones like Gorgonzola and Dutch cheese, 
but others are all right. I remember that at the time when 
people drank hard in Pomerania — two hundred years ago or 
more — the good folks of Rammin were the greatest topers 
in the country. One of them happened to get a supply of 
wine from Stettin, which was not quite to his liking. He com- 
plained accordingly to the merchant, who replied : * Eet kees to 
WieUy HerVy von Rammin^ denn smeckt de Wien wie ift Stettin 
00k to Rammm' " (Low German : " Eat cheese to your wine, 
good sir, from Rammin, then the wine will taste as good in 
Rammin as it does here in Stettin.") 

Abeken, who had been with the King, came in afterwards, 
and reported that his Majesty considered it would be well to 
write again to the Emperor of Russia, and give him the views 
held here respecting the Gortchakoff Note. The Chief said : 
" I think not. Enough has been already written and tele- 
graphed on the subject. They know in St. Petersburg what 
we think. At least we must not write discourteously, but 
rather in a friendly and amiable spirit. It is better, however, 
to say nothing. If it were England ! But we shall still want 
Russia's good will in the immediate future. When that is no 
longer necessary, we can afford to be rude." 

Bohlen said : " They are quite beside themselves in Berlin. 
They will have tremendous rejoicings there to-morrow, about 
the Emperor. They are going to illuminate the town, and are 
making immense preparations — a regular scene from fairy- 
land! " "I fancy that will have a good effect on the Reichs- 
tag," observed the Chief. "It was really very nice of Rog- 
genbach to start off at once for Berlin " (in order to urge mod- 
eration upon the grumblers in the Reichstag). " They " (the 
members of Parliament, or the Berliners }) " attach much more 
importance to the title of Emperor than the thing really de- 
serves — although I do not mean to say it is of no value." 

"That was really funny," said Bohlen, "what Holnstein 
told us about his interview with the King of Bavaria while he 
had a toothache ! " 

" And the way I wrote to him in order to bring him round," 
added the Chancellor. "I knew that he could not bear me, 
and did not trust me. So I wrote to him at last that one of 


our estates had been granted to our family by Ludwig, the 
Bavarian, as Lord of Brandenburg, and that consequently we 
had had relations with his house for more than five centuries. 
That was true, in so far as the estates which we now hold were 
given to us in exchange for those which the Hohenzollerns 
extorted from us. Holnstein said the letter must have pleased 
the King very much, as he asked to read it again. " It was 
Holnstein who did most in this matter. He played his part 
very cleverly. Tell me (to Bohlen), what Order can we give 

Bohlen : " He got the first class of the red fowl (the Red 
Eagle) when the Crown Prince was in Munich." 

" Well then," said the Chief, " he has got the highest deco- 
ration that can be given to him." 

Bohlen : " Well, the King might give him the Imperial Ger- 
man Order, about which Stillfried is already meditating, or he 
can found a new Prussian Order, and thus supply a long-felt 

The Chief: "The Green Lion." 

Bohlen : " The German Order, with a black, white, and red 

The Chief: **0r with the colours of the German Knights, 
a white ribbon with small black stripes. It looks very well. 
The King did not rightly know what it was all about when 
Holnstein requested an audience. He said to me, ' I observed 
to Holnstein, that I supposed he wished to see Versailles.' Of 
course, he (King William) could not have arranged that him- 
self " {i.e.y he could not have arranged to acquire the Impe- 
rial dignity through the good offices of Bavaria). 

Werthern, our Minister at Munich, seems to have reported 
that it was intended there to commission Prince Luitpold with 
the proclamation of the Emperor. The Chancellor observed: 
"A singular idea! Another example of the way in which Bray 
treats matters of business. How is he to do it.? Step on to a 
balcony, and proclaim it ! — to whom .? That might do if all the 
Princes were here — but with the three or four now present! 
I had hoped that we should have made peace before German 
unity was secured." 

Bohlen : " How pleased the King will feel at being made 
Emperor! and still more so, the Crown Prince! " 


The Chief: "Yes, and no doubt he is already thinking 
about the cut of the Imperial robes." 

Monday, December ^th. — The Chief sent for me, and gave 
me his instructions for a dementi with regard to the Bavarian 
Treaty, in which his ideas were to be somewhat differently 
expressed. It was to the following effect. The rumour that 
the Chancellor of the Confederation only concluded the treaties 
with the South German States in anticipation that they would 
be rejected, or at least amended in the Reichstag, is entirely 
without foundation. The debate on the treaties must be 
brought to a close during the month of December, and they 
must be adopted in their entirety, in order that they may come 
into force on the ist of January. Otherwise, everything will 
remain uncertain. If the representatives of North Germany 
alter the treaties, the South German Diets will be entitled to 
make further amendments in a contrary sense, and there is no 
knowing how far that right might not be exercised. In such 
circumstances, the nation might have still to wait a long time 
for its political unity. (" Perhaps ten years," said the Chief, 
"and interim aliquid fitT) In that case, also, the Treaty of 
Peace might not be what we desire. The treaties may be 
deficient, but they can always be gradually improved by the 
Reichstag, in cooperation with the Bundesrath, and through 
the pressure of public opinion and national sentiment. There 
is no hurry about that. If public opinion brings no pressure 
to bear in that direction, it is obvious that the present arrange- 
ment meets the views of the majority of the nation. Men of 
national sentiment at Versailles are very anxious and uneasy 
at the prevailing dispositions in Berlin. They are, however, 
to some extent reassured by the fact that the Volkszeitung 
opposes the Bavarian Treaty, as people have gradually grown 
accustomed to find that all persons of political insight as a rule 
reject whatever that journal praises and recommends, and are 
disposed to adopt whatever it deprecates and censures. 

At dinner Bamberger, the member of the Reichstag, was 
on the Chief's left. He is also going to Berlin in order to plead 
for the adoption, without alteration, of the treaties with South 
Germany. The conversation first turned on doctors and their 
knowledge, whereupon the Chief (I cannot now remember on 
what grounds) delivered the following weighty judgment: "Ah 



yes, if doctors were only sensible men ; but as it is, they are 
dolts." The question of the treaties was then discussed, and 
the attitude of the Princes in this matter was admitted to be 
correct. "Yes, but the Reichstag," said the Chancellor; "it 
reminds me of Kaiser Heinrich and his * Gentlemen, you have 
spoiled my sport.' ^ In that instance it ultimately turned out all 
right, but in this! All the members of the Reichstag might 
sacrifice themselves one after another upon the altar of the 
Fatherland — it would be all to no purpose." After reflecting 
for a moment, the Minister continued, with a smile : " Members 
of the Diet and the Reichstag should be made responsible, like 
Ministers, no more and no less, and placed on a footing of 
absolute equality. A Bill should provide for the impeachment 
for treason of members of Parliament when they reject important 
State treaties, or, as in Paris, approve of a war undertaken on 
frivolous pretexts. They were all in favour of the war, with the 
exception of Jules Favre. Perhaps I shall bring in some such 
measure one day." 

The conversation then turned upon the approaching capitu- 
lation of Paris, which must take place, at latest, within a month. 
" Ah ! " sighed the Chancellor, " it is then that my troubles will 
begin in earnest." . . . Bamberger was of opinion that they 
should not be allowed merely to capitulate, but should immedi- 
ately be called upon to conclude peace. " Quite so," said the 
Chief. " That is exactly my view, and they should be forced to 
do so by starvation. But there are people who want, above all 
else, to be extolled for their humane feelings, and they will 
spoil everything — altogether forgetting the fact that we must 
think of our own soldiers, and take care that they shall not 
suffer want and be shot down to no purpose. It is just the 
same with the bombardment. And then we are told to spare 
people who are searching for potatoes; they should be shot 
too, if we want to reduce the city by starvation." 

After 8 o'clock I was called to the Chief several times, and 
wrote two paragraphs for the Spenersche Zeitung in accordance 
with his instructions. The first ran as follows: — " The Vienna 
newspapers recently stated that * the German Austrians did not 
wish for war, and the majority of the Austrian Slavs just as 

1 His greeting to those who brought him the news of his election as Emperor 
while he was netting birds in the forest. 


little.' But there is in Austria, and in Hungary, a not very 
numerous but influential party which does desire war. When 
inquiry is made as to their real motive for doing so, it is found 
to arise from pride and arrogance, from a kind of frivolous 
chivalry, from a real hunger for political luxuries, from the 
determination to play the Grand Seigneur before the world. 
The Austrians of this party, in which very distinguished person- 
ages are the moving spirits, seem to us to resemble the princely 
family of Esterhazy. It is an ancient house, of high rank, with 
great estates and a large fortune. Its members might well 
have been content to occupy so eminent a position. But the 
evil genius of the family continually drove them into extrava- 
gance, into making too great demands upon their resources, 
into squandering enormous sums on horses, diamonds, &c., with 
the object of displaying their wealth and importance; so that 
they fell into debt, and, finally, came to the verge of bank- 
ruptcy. The Esterhazy Lottery was then resorted to, and 
actually did tide them over their difficulties. The family was 
saved. But scarcely have they begun to breathe freely, and to 
regain their footing, when their evil genius once more inspires 
them, and the old game goes on again, until, at length, a time 
will come when even a lottery will no longer save them. The 
Austrian party to which we have already referred seems to us 
to present a close resemblance to the Esterhazys. The State is 
a fine property, with excellent natural advantages, a rich soil, 
and a great variety of valuable resources. But the policy of 
the proprietors is exactly the same as that of the Esterhazys. 
They must always overreach themselves, and try to be more 
than they really are. The evil genius of the State regards as a 
necessity what is in reality mere luxury, self-conceit, and the 
desire to cut a great figure in the world. In that way, the 
ancient and wealthy house has become a comparatively poor 
one, with a touch of the Quixotic, and a still stronger flavour of 
unfair dealing, which is very badly suited to our matter-of-fact 
age, when so much importance is attached to the ability to pay 
one's way. Every now and then, the State, like its prototype 
the Esterhazys, escapes out of its troubles by means of a lot- 
tery, or of some not particularly respectable financial manoeuvre; 
but then it suddenly puts forward fresh claims to a position 
beyond its means, presumes to play the part of a great Power, 


squanders millions on mobilisation, as its prototype does on 
stables and diamonds, and thus sinks deeper and deeper into 
financial difficulties. Instead of being able to satisfy its cred- 
itors by good management and a modest bearing, it moves 
steadily forward, without pause or rest, towards that bank- 
ruptcy which for a considerable space has only been a ques- 
tion of time." 

The foregoing is an almost literal reproduction of the Chief's 
own words. I did not venture, however, to incorporate his con- 
cluding remarks, which were as follows: "The Hapsburgs have 
really become great through plundering old families — the Hun- 
garians, for instance. At bottom they are only a family of 
police spies {polizeilich-Spitzelfamilie) who lived upon and made 
their fortune by confiscations." 

The second paragraph, which referred to a statement in the 
Ind^pendance Beige, pointed out that the relationship between 
the Orleans and the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine through the 
Due d'Alengon could not induce us Germans to regard them 
with any special favour. The paragraph was to the following 
effect: It is known that Trochu declined the offer of the 
Princes of the House of Orleans to take part in the struggle 
against us. The Ind^pendance Beige now states that the Due 
d'Alengon, second son of the Due de Nemours, who was at 
that time incapacitated by illness from joining his uncles and 
cousins in their offer of service, has now sought salvation by 
adopting a similar course. The Brussels organ adds the signifi- 
cant remark : " It will be remembered that the Due d'Alen^on 
is married to a sister of the Empress of Austria." We under- 
stand that hint, and believe we shall be speaking in the spirit 
of German policy in replying to it as follows : — The Orleans 
are quite as hostile to us as the other dynasties that are fishing 
for the French throne. Their journals are filled with lies and 
abuse directed against us. We have not forgotten the hymn 
of praise which the Due de Joinville raised after the battle of 
Worth to the franctireurs, who had acted like assassins. The 
only French Government we care for is that which can do us 
the least harm, because it is most occupied with its own affairs, 
and with maintaining its own position against its rivals. Other- 
wise Orleanists, Legitimists, Imperialists, and Republicans are 
all of the same value or no value to us. And as for those who 

VOL. I. — T 


throw out hints about the Austrian relationship, they would 
do well to be on their guard, as we are on ours. There is in 
Austria-Hungary one party in favour of Germany and another 
hostile to her, — a party that wants to continue the policy of 
Kaunitz in the Seven Years' War, a policy of constant conspir- 
acy with France against German interests, and particularly 
against Prussia. That is the policy which has recently been 
connected with Metternich's name, and which was pursued 
from 1815 to 1866. Since then more or less vigorous attempts 
have been made to continue it. It is the party of which the 
younger Metternich is regarded as the leader. He has for 
years past been looked upon as the most ardent advocate of 
a Franco-Austrian alliance against Germany, and one of the 
principal instigators of the present war. If the Orleans believe 
that their prospects are improved by their connection with Aus- 
tria, they ought also to know that for that very reason they have 
nothing to hope from us. 

After Bucher, Keudell, and myself had been for some time 
at tea, we were joined by the Chief, and afterwards by Hatz- 
feld, who had been with the King. He said it was intolerably 
dull there. 

*' Grimm, the Russian Councillor of State, gave us a variety 
of wearisome particulars about Louis Quatorze and Louis 
Quinze. The W. worried us, and me in particular, with silly 
questions." (He pouted his lips, assumed a killing smile, and 
bent his head to one side, imitating the Grand Duke's affecta- 
tions.) " He informed us that the students at St. Cyr all re- 
ceived a portrait of Madame Maintenon, and that he himself 
had one also. The King, who had occasionally rubbed his eyes, 
observed somewhat pointedly, *I suppose they were photo- 
graphs.' *No, oh no, engravings.' 'Well, then, what did you 
do with yours.?* the King asked. *Why, nothing, I kept it.' 
The Grand Duke then asked me — he had obviously prepared 
the question in advance, and perhaps learnt it by heart — 'Is 
the Revue des Deux Mondes still published.? An interesting 
newspaper.' I replied, ' I do not know, your Royal Highness.' 
* Who is the editor ? ' 'I do not know that either.' 'So-0-0!' 
The aides-de-camp were cruelly bored, and one of them nudged 
Lehndorff, begging him in a whisper to give the old fool a rap 
on the head with his crutch. 




"Yes, he is a fearful bore," added the Chief. "What a 
miserable position it must be for a man whose father was a 
Court official to him or one like him, and who has to assume the 
same office himself — a chamberlain or something of that kind, 
who has to listen day after day to all that twaddle, and has no 
prospect of ever becoming anything else ! The Queen is just 
such another. She was educated in the same school. I remem- 
ber she once questioned me on a literary subject, I believe it 
was about some French book or other. * I do not know, your 
Majesty,' I replied. * Ah, I suppose that does not interest you.* 
* No, your Majesty.' Radowitz was very strong on those sub- 
jects. He boldly gave every kind of information, and in that 
way secured a great deal of his success at Court. He was able 
to tell exactly what Maintenon or Pompadour wore on such and 
such a day ; such and such a gewgaw on her neck, her head- 
dress trimmed with colibris or grapes, her gown pearl-grey or 
peacock-green with furbelows or lace of this or that description 
— exactly as if he had been there at the time. The ladies were 
all ears for these toilette lectures, which he poured forth with 
the utmost fluency." 

The conversation then turned upon Alexander von Hum- 
boldt, who appears to have been a courtier too, but not of the 
amusing variety. The Chief said : " Under the late King I 
was the sole victim when Humboldt chose to entertain the com- 
pany in his own style. He usually read, often for hours at a 
time, the biography of some French savant or architect in whom 
nobody in the world except himself took the slightest interest. 
He stood by the lamp holding the paper close to the light, and 
occasionally paused for the purpose of making some learned 
observation. Although nobody listened to him, he had the ear 
of the house. The Queen was all the time at work on a piece 
of tapestry, and certainly did not understand a word of what he 
said. The King looked through his portfolios of engravings, 
turning them over as noisily as possible, evidently with the 
intention of not hearing him. The young people on both sides 
and in the background enjoyed themselves without the least 
restraint, so that their cackling and giggling actually drowned 
his reading, which, however, rippled on without break or stop 
like a brook. Gerlach, who was usually present, sat on his 
small round chair, which could barely accommodate his volumi- 


nous person, and slept so soundly that he snored. The King 
was once obliged to wake him, and said, * Pray, Gerlach, don't 
snore so loud ! ' I was Humboldt's only patient listener, that is to 
say I sat silent and pretended to listen, at the same time follow- 
ing my own thoughts, until at length cold cake and white wine 
were served. It put the old gentleman in very bad humour not 
to be allowed to have the talk all to himself. I remember once 
there was somebody there who managed to monopolise the 
conversation — quite naturally, it is true, as he was a clever 
raconteur and spoke about things that interested everybody. 
Humboldt was beside himself. In a peevish surly temper he 
piled his plate so high (pointing with his hand) v^ith. paU de foie 
gras, fat eels, lobsters* tails, and other indigestible stuff, — a 
real mountain, — it was astounding that an old man could put it 
all away. At last his patience was exhausted, and he could not 
stand it any longer. So he tried to interrupt the speaker. * On 
the peak of Popocatapetl,' he began, — but the other went on 
with his story. * On the peak of Popocatapetl, seven thousand 
fathoms above ' — but he again failed to make any impression, 
and the narrative maintained its easy flow. * On the peak of 
Popocatapetl, seven thousand fathoms above the level of the 
sea,' he exclaimed in a loud and excited tone, — but with as lit- 
tle success as before. The talker talked on, and the company 
had no ears for anybody else. That was something unheard of, 
outrageous ! Humboldt threw himself back in morose medita- 
tion over the ingratitude of mankind, and shortly afterwards 
left. The Liberals made a great deal of him, and counted him 
as one of themselves. He was, however, a sycophant who 
aspired to the favour of Princes and who was only happy when 
basking in the sunshine of royalty. That did not prevent him, 
however, from criticising the Court afterwards to Varnhagen, 
and repeating all sorts of discreditable stories about it. Varn- 
hagen worked these up into books, which I also bought. They 
are fearfully dear when one thinks how few lines in large type 
go to the page." Keudell observed that they were nevertheless 
indispensable for historical purposes. " Yes, in a certain sense," 
replied the Chief. " Taken individually the stories are not worth 
much, but as a whole they are an expression of the sourness of 
Berlin at a period when nothing of importance was happening. 
At that time everybody talked in that maliciously impotent way. 

1870] METTERNICH 277 

It was a society which it would be hardly possible to realise to- 
day without the assistance of such books, unless one had per- 
sonal experience of it. A great deal of outward show with 
nothing genuine behind it. I remember, although I was a very 
little fellow at the time, it must have been in 1821 or '22. Min- 
isters were still like strange animals, regarded with wonder as 
something mysterious. There was once a large party, which 
was at that time called an assembUe^ given at Schuckmann's — 
what a monstrous huge beast he was as a Minister ! My mother 
also went there. I remember it as if it were to-day. She wore 
long gloves that went up to here." (He pointed to the upper 
part of his arm.) " A dress with a short waist, her hair puffed 
out on both sides, and a big ostrich feather on her head." (The 
Chief left this anecdote unfinished, if indeed there was any con- 
clusion to it, and returned to his former subject.) " Humboldt, 
however," he continued, " had a great many interesting things 
to tell when one was alone with him, about the times of Fred- 
erick William IH., and in particular about his own first sojourn in 
Paris. As he liked me, owing to the attention with which I 
listened to him, he told me a number of pretty anecdotes. It 
was the same with old Metternich, with whom I spent a few 
days at Johannisburg. Thun afterwards said to me, * I do not 
know how you have managed to get round the old Prince, but 
he has indeed looked into you as if you were a golden goblet, 
as he told me. If you do not come to an understanding with 
him, then I really don't know what to say.' * I can explain that 
to you,' I replied. *I listened to all his stories, and often 
prompted him to continue them. That pleases the garrulous 
old people.' " 

Hatzfeld said that Moltke had written to Trochu telling him 
how affairs stood at Orleans, and expressing his readiness to 
allow one of Trochu's officers to satisfy himself of the truth of 
his statement. He would be furnished with a safe conduct to 
Orleans. The Chief said : ** I know that. But he should not 
have done so. They ought to find that out for themselves. 
Our lines are now thin at various points, and they have also a 
pigeon post. They will only imagine we are in a hurry to get 
them to capitulate." 

Tuesday y December 6th. — In the morning I telegraphed to 
Berlin and London more detailed particulars of the victory at 


Orleans. Then wrote articles for the Moniteur and the German 
papers on the way in which French officers interned in Ger- 
many are breaking their parole. So long as this unworthy con- 
duct receives approval and encouragement from the Government 
of National Defence, it is impossible for us to carry on any 
negotiations with it. 

Dr. Lauer and Odo Russell dined with us to-day. The con- 
versation was not of particular interest. We had, however, a 
delicious Palatine wine — Deidesheimer Hofstuck and Forster 
Kirchenstiick, a noble juice, rich in all virtues, fragrant, and 
fiery. Aus Feuerward der Geist erschaffen. Even Bucher, who 
usually drinks only red wine, did justice to this heavenly dew 
from the Haardt Hills. 

I afterwards wrote an article in which I politely expressed 
surprise at the brazen impudence with which Grammont 
reminds the world of his existence in the Brussels Gatilois. 
He who, through his unparalleled ineptitude, has brought so 
much misery upon France, should, like his colleague Ollivier, 
have hidden himself in silence and been glad to be forgotten. 
Or, inspired by his ancient name, he should have joined the 
army and fought for his country, so as in some degree to ex- 
piate the wrong he has done it. Instead of doing anything of 
the kind, however, he dares to remind the world that he still 
lives, and once conducted the foreign policy of France. " A 
blockhead, a coward, an impudent fellow ! " said the Chief, 
when he instructed me to write this article. " You can use the 
strongest expressions in dealing with him." 



Wednesday y December "jth. — At dinner the Chief related 
some of his Frankfort reminiscences. " It was possible to get 
on with Thun," he said. " He was a respectable man. Taken 
altogether, Rechberg^ was also not bad. He was at least 
honourable from a personal standpoint, although violent and 
irascible — one of those passionate, fiery blonds ! It is true 
that as an Austrian diplomat of those days he was not able to 
pay too strict a regard to truth. I remember his once receiving 
a despatch in which he was instructed to maintain the best 
relations with us, a second despatch being sent to him at the 
same time enjoining him to follow an exactly opposite course. 
I happened to call upon him, and he inadvertently gave me the 
second despatch to read. I saw immediately how matters stood 
and read it through. Then handing it back to him I said : ' I 
beg your pardon, but you have given me the wrong one.' He 
was fearfully embarrassed, but I consoled him, saying I would 
take no advantage of his mistake, using it merely for my personal 
information." " The third, however, — Prokesch, — was not at 
all to my liking. In the East he had learnt the basest forms of 
intrigue and had no sense of honour or truth. A thorough- 
paced liar. I remember being once in a large company where 
some Austrian assertion which was not in accordance with the 
truth was being discussed. Prokesch, raising his voice in order 
that I might hear him, said : * If that be not true, then the 
Imperial and Royal Cabinet has commissioned me to commit 
an act of perfidy; indeed, his Imperial and Apostolic Majesty 
has lied to me ! ' and he emphasised the word lied. He looked 
at me whilst he was speaking, and, when he had finished, I 
replied quietly : * Quite so, Excellency ! ' He was obviously 

1 Thun, Rechberg, and Prokesch held in succession the position of Austrian Min- 
ister to the Bundestag. 



aghast, and as he looked round and found all eyes cast down 
and a deep silence which showed approval of what I had said, 
he turned away without a word and went into the dining-room 
where the table was laid. He had recovered himself, however, 
after dinner, and came over to me with a full glass in his hand 
— but for that I should have thought he was going to challenge 
me — and said, *Well, let us make peace.' 'Certainly,' I 
replied, * but what I said in the other room was true, and the 
protocol must be altered.* The protocol was altered, an ad- 
mission that it had contained an untruth. A rascally fellow ! " 
Thursday^ December %th. — Some one asked at dinner how 
the question of Emperor and Empire now stood. The Chief 
replied inter alia : " We have had a great deal of trouble with 
it in the way of telegrams and letters. But after all Holnstein 
has done the greater part of the work. He is a clever fellow, 
and not in the least spoilt by or prepossessed in favour of Court 
manners." Putbus asked what position he held. " Master of 
the Horse. He showed himself very willing and energetic, 
making the journey to Munich and back in six days. In the 
present condition of the railways that requires a great deal of 
good will. Of course he has the necessary physique. Indeed, 
not merely to Munich, but to Hohenschwangau, — and there 
saw the King, who had just been operated under chloroform for 
a tumour in the gum. But King Lewis also greatly contributed 
to the speedy settlement of the matter. He received the letter 
immediately, and at once gave a definite answer. He might 
easily have said that he must first take some fresh air in the 
mountains, and would answer in three or four days. The Count 
has certainly done us a very good service in the affair ; but I 
really do not know how we can reward him." I forget how the 
conversation came to deal with the terms " swell," " snob," and 
*' cockney," which were the subject of much discussion. The 
Chief mentioned a certain diplomat as a "swell," and observed: 
" It is really a capital word, but we cannot translate it into Ger- 
man. * Stutzery perhaps, but that conveys at the same time 
pompousness and self-importance. * Snob * is something quite 
different, while it is also very difficult for us to render properly. 
It denotes a variety of attributes, but principally one-sidedness, 
narrowness, slavery to local or class prejudices, philistinism. A 
'snob* is something like our ^ Pfalburger^' yet not quite. It 


1870] VARIETIES OF "SNOBS" 28 1 

includes also a petty conception of family interests, political 
narrow-mindedness, rigid adherence to ideas and habits that 
have become a second nature. There are also female snobs and 
very distinguished ones. The feminine half of our Court are 
snobs. Our two most exalted ladies are snobs. The male 
element is not snobbish. One may also talk of party snobs — 
those who in larger political issues cannot emancipate them- 
selves from the rules that govern private conduct — the * Pro- 
gressist snob.' The cockney again is quite another person. 
That term applies more particularly to Londoners. There are 
people there who have never been outside their own walls and 
streets, never got away from the brick and mortar, who have 
never seen life anywhere else nor travelled beyond the sound of 
Bow Bells. We have also Berliners who have never left their 
city. But Berlin is a small place compared to London, or 
even Paris, which has also its cockneys, although they are 
known by another name there. There are hundreds of thou- 
sands in London who have never seen anything but London. In 
such great cities conceptions are formed which permeate the 
whole community, and harden into the most inveterate prejudices. 
Such narrow and silly ideas arise in every great centre of popu- 
lation where the people have no experience, and often not the 
faintest notion of how things look elsewhere. Silliness without 
conceit is endurable, but to be silly and unpractical, and at the 
same time conceited, is intolerable. Country life brings people 
into much closer contact with realities. They may be less 
educated there, but what they know they know thoroughly. 
There are, however, snobs in the country also. (Turning to 
Putbus.) Just take a really clever shot. He is convinced that 
he is the first man in the world, and that sport is everything, 
and that those who do not understand it are worth nothing. 
And then a man who lives on his estate in a remote district, 
where he is everything, and all the people depend upon him ; 
when he comes to the wool market and finds that he is not of 
the same importance with the townspeople as he is at home, he 
gets into a bad temper, sits sulking on his sack of wool, and 
takes no notice of anything else." 

At tea, Keudell said that I ought really to see, not merely 
those political despatches, reports, and drafts which I received 
from the Minister, but everything that came in and went out. 


He would speak on the subject to Abeken, who acts here as 
Secretary of State. I accepted his proposal with many thanks. 

Bucher informed me that the Minister had made some very 
interesting remarks in the drawing-room while they were taking 
coffee. Prince Putbus mentioned his desire to travel in far-dis- 
tant lands. "It might be possible to manage that for you," 
said the Chief. "You might be commissioned to notify the 
foundation of the German Empire to the Emperor of China and 
the Tycoon of Japan." The Minister then discussed at length 
the duties of the German aristocracy, of course with special 
reference to his guest. 

The King was faithful to his duty, but he was born in the 
last century, and thus he regarded many things from a point of 
view which was no longer suitable to the times. He would 
allow himself to be cut to pieces in the interests of the State, 
as he understood them, if he knew that his family would be 
provided for. The future king was quite different. He had 
not this strong sense of duty. When he found himself in good 
case, had plenty of money at his disposal, and was praised by 
the newspapers, he was quite satisfied. He would choose his 
Ministers in the English fashion from the Liberal or from other 
parties just as things happened in the Diet, in order to avoid 
trouble. In that way, however, he would ruin everything, or 
at least produce a condition of constant instability. The great 
nobles ought then to intervene. They must have a sense of 
the necessities of the State and recognise their mission, which 
is to preserve the State from vacillation and uncertainty in the 
struggles of parties, to give it a firm support, &c. There was 
no objection to their associating with a Strousberg, but they 
would do better to become bankers straight away. 

Monday^ December 12th. — The Chief's indisposition seems 
to have again grown worse, and it is said that he is in a par- 
ticularly bad humour. Dr. Lauer has been to see him. The 
Times contains the following communication, which it would be 
impossible for us to improve upon.^ 

^ The communication referred to is a letter by Thomas Girlyle published in the 
Times of November 18, in which it occupied two and a half columns. The passages 
quoted by Dr. Busch are here reproduced from the original : — 

" The question for the Germans, in this crisis, is not one of * magnanimity,* of 
'heroic pity and forgiveness to a fallen foe,' but of solid prudence and practical 


An excellent letter, which we must submit to the Versailles 
people in the Moniteiir, 

Busily engaged all the evening. Translated for the King 
articles published by the Times and Daily Telegraph warmly ap- 
proving of the restoration of the German Empire and the Impe- 
rial dignity. 

The Times article, after stating that not merely the fact of 
the restoration of the German Empire but also the manner in 
which it had been brought about could only be regarded with 
the liveliest satisfaction, proceeds as follows : — 

" The political significance of this change cannot be placed 
too high. A mighty revolution has been accomplished in Eu- 
rope, and all our traditions have suddenly become antiquated. 
No one can pretend to predict the relations of the Great Pow- 
ers ; but it is not very difficult to forecast in a general way the 
political tendencies of the time on which we are about to enter. 
There will be a powerful united Germany, presided over by a 
family which represents not only its interests, but its military 
fame. On the one side will be Russia, strong and watchful as 

consideration what the fallen foe will, in all likelihood, do when once on his feet 
again. Written on her memory, in a distinctly instructive manner, Germany has an 
experience of 400 years on this point; of which on the English memory, if it ever 
was recorded there, there is now little or no trace visible. ... No nation ever had 
so bad a neighbour as Germany has had in France for the last 400 years; bad in all 
manner of ways; insolent, rapacious, insatiable, unappeasable, continually aggres- 
sive. . . . Germany, I do clearly believe, would be a foolish nation not to think of 
raising up some secure boundary fence between herself and such a neighbour now 
that she has the chance. There is no law of nature that I know of, no Heavens Act 
of Parliament whereby France, alone of terrestrial beings, shall not restore any por- 
tion of her plundered goods when the owners they were wrenched from have an 
opportunity upon them. . . . The French complain dreadfully of threatened * loss 
of honour ' ; and lamentable bystanders plead earnestly, • Don't dishonour France ; 
leave poor France's honour bright.' But will it save the honour of France to refuse 
paying for the glass she has voluntarily broken in her neighbour's windows? The 
attack upon the windows was her dishonour. Signally disgraceful to any nation was 
her late assault on Germany; equally signal has been the ignominy of its execution 
on the part of France. The honour of France can be saved only by the deep 
repentance of France, and by the serious determination never to do so again — to do 
the reverse of so forever henceforth. . . . For the present, I must say, France 
looks more and more delirious, miserable, blamable, pitiable, and even contemptible. 
She refuses to see the facts that are lying palpably before her face, and the penalties 
she has brought upon herself. A France scattered into anarchic ruin, without recog- 
nisable head; head, or chief, indistinguishable from feet, or rabble; Ministers flying 
up in balloons ballasted with nothing but outrageous public lies, proclamations of 


ever ; but on the other side will be France, which, whether patient 
under her reverses or burning for revenge, will be for a time 
incapable of playing that great part in Europe which belonged 
to her even under the feebleness of the Restoration. Thus, 
whereas we had formerly two strong centralised military em- 
pires, with a distracted, unready nation between them, which 
might be ground to powder whenever the two closed to crush 
it, there is now a firm barrier erected in Central Europe, and 
the fabric is correspondingly strengthened. In this the policy 
of past generations of English statesmen is fulfilled. They all 
desired the creation of a strong Central Power, and laboured for 
it in peace and war by negotiations and alliances, now with the 
Empire, now with the new State which had arisen in the North." 
On the instructions of the Chief, I also wrote a paragraph 
for the press to the effect that we are no longer opposed by 
France, but rather by the cosmopolitan Red Republicans, Gari- 
baldi and Mazzini (who are with Gambetta, and act as his coun- 
sellors), and Polish, Spanish, and Danish adherents of that 
party. The aims of these good people are indicated in a letter 
from the son of the Prefect Ordinaire, who describes himself as 

victories that were creatures of the fancy; a Government subsisting altogether on 
mendacity, willing that horrid bloodshed should continue and increase rather than 
that they, beautiful Republican creatures, should cease to have the guidance of it; 
I know not when and where there was seen a nation so covering itself with dis- 
honour. . . . The quantity of conscious mendacity that France, official and other, 
has perpetrated latterly, especially since July last, is something wonderful and fearful. 
And, alas ! perhaps even that is small compared to the self-delusion and wwconscious 
mendacity long prevalent among the French. ... To me at times the mournfuUest 
symptom in France is the figure its * men of genius/ its highest literary speakers, who 
should be prophets and seers to it, make at present, and, indeed, for a generation 
back have been making. It is evidently their belief that new celestial wisdom is 
radiating out of France upon all the other overshadowed nations; that France is the 
new Mount Zion of the universe; and that all this sad, sordid, semi-delirious, and, in 
good part, infernal stuff which French literature has been preaching to us for the 
last fifty years is a veritable new Gospel out of Heaven, pregnant with blessedness for 
all the sons of men. ... I believe Bismarck {sic) will get his Alsace and what he 
wants of Lorraine; and likewise that it will do him, and us, and all the world, and 
even France itself by and by, a great deal of good. . . . (Bismarck) in fact seems to 
me to be striving with strong faculty, by patient, grand, and successful steps, towards 
an object beneficial to Germans and to all other men. That noble, patient, deep, and 
solid Germany should be at length welded into a nation and become Queen of the 
Continent, instead of vapouring, vainglorious, gesticulating, quarrelsome, restless, 
and over-sensitive France, seems to me the hopefuUest public fact that has occurred 
in my time. " — The Translator. 



an officer in Garibaldi's General Staff. This letter, which is 
dated from Autun on the i6th of November, and addressed to 
the editor of the newspaper Droits de V Homines contains the fol- 
lowing passage : — 

" You will see from the postmark where we are now sta- 
tioned — in one of the most priest-ridden towns of France. It 
is the centre of monarchical reaction. It looks less like a town 
than an enormous monastery, huge black walls and barred 
windows, behind which monks of all colours intrigue and pray- 
in darkness and silence for the success of the good cause. In 
the streets our red shirts are constantly brushing against the 
black cassock of the priest. The whole population, from the 
tradespeople downwards, present a mystic aspect, and appear 
as if they had been all drenched in holy water. We are re- 
garded here as if we had been inscribed upon the Index, and 
the calumnies that are rained upon us rival the deluge. A 
breach of discipline (which is unavoidable in the case of a 
volunteer army) is immediately exaggerated into a great crime. 
Trifles are transformed into outrages that deserve to be punished 
by death. The mountain frequently gives birth to a mere 
mouse, but the bad impression produced upon the public mind 

" Would you believe it ? The officials themselves put diffi- 
culties in our way ! They echo, I hope unwittingly, the calum- 
nies that are circulated against us, and regard us with evident 
ill will. Indeed, our fellow-citizens are almost inclined to look 
upon our army as a band of brigands. Can you imagine that 
the monarchists have not in the least renounced their mischiev- 
ous endeavours, and hate us because we have sworn never to 
permit the reerection of those mountebank stages from which 
kings and emperors have ordered nations as the humour took 
them } Yes, we proclaim the fact aloud that we are soldiers of 
the Revolution, and I would add not of the French Revolution 
alone, but of the cosmopolitan revolution. Italians, Spaniards, 
Poles, and Hungarians, in gathering under the French flag, 
clearly understand that they are defending the Universal 
Republic. The real nature of the struggle is now evident. It 
is a war between the principle of the divine right of kings and 
of force, and that of popular sovereignty, civilisation, and free- 
dom. The fatherland disappears before the Republic. 


"We are citizens of the world, and whatever may happen 
we will fight to the death for the realisation of that noble ideal 
of the United States of Europe, that is to say, the fraternisation 
of all free peoples. The monarchical reactionaries know that, 
and so they reinforce the Prussian forces with their own legions. 
We have the enemies' bayonets in front, and treason behind us. 
Why is not every old official sent about his business .'' Why 
are not all the old generals of the Empire ruthlessly cashiered ? 
Cannot the Government of National Defence see that they are 
being betrayed, and that these people, with their hypocritical 
manoeuvres, shameful capitulations, and inexplicable retreats 
are preparing for a Bonapartist restoration, or, at least, for the 
accession of an Orleans or a Bourbon.? 

" But the Government which has undertaken the task of 
delivering the contaminated soil of France from foreign hordes 
should take care. In times like the present, and under the 
fearful conditions in which we find ourselves, it is not enough 
to be honest. It is also necessary to show energy, to keep a 
cool head, and not to allow one's self to be drowned in a glass 
of water. Let the Cremieuxs, the Glais-Bizoins, and the 
Fourichons remember the manner in which the men of 1792 
and '93 acted ! To-day we need a Danton, a Robespierre, the 
men of the Convention ! Away with you, gentlemen ! Make 
room for the Revolution ! That alone can save us. Great crises 
demand great measures ! " 

The fatherland disappears before the Republic ! Resort to 
the great measures adopted by Danton and Robespierre ! Be- 
head every one who differs from us in religious and political 
affairs, and establish the guillotine as a permanent institution. 
Dismiss Generals Chancy and Bourbaki, Faidherbe and Vinoy, 
Ducrot and Trochu, and appoint private soldiers in their place. 
That is the gospel preached by the son of a Prefect in the de- 
partment of Doubs, an officer of Garibaldi's General Staff. I 
wonder whether these proposals will commend themselves to 
many of the Versailles people when they see this letter in the 
Moniteur one of these days .'' 

Tuesday ^ December I'^th. — In the morning wrote another 
article on the confession of faith of the cosmopolitan Repub- 
licans. The Chief's health is somewhat better, only he feels 
very exhausted. . . . 



At lunch Bucher, Hatzfeld, and Keudell declared in all seri- 
ousness that they thought the Chancellor would resign. It was 
jestingly suggested that he would be followed by a Ministry 
under Lasker, who would be "a kind of Ollivier," and then 
half in joke, half in earnest, the possibility was discussed of our 
having for a Chancellor Delbriick, — "a very clever man, but 
no politician." 

I regarded it as absolutely inconceivable that the Chief could 
ever be allowed to resign, even if he requested to be relieved 
from office. They thought, nevertheless, that it was possible. 
I said that in such circumstances they would be obliged to re- 
call him in less than a month. Bucher questioned whether he 
would come back, and said positively that so far as he knew 
him, if the Count once retired he would never take office again. 
He enjoyed himself far too well at Varzin, free from business 
and worry of every kind. He liked best of all to be in the 
woods and fields. The Countess had once said to him : " Be- 
lieve me, a turnip interests him (Bismarck) more than all your 
politics." That statement, however, must not be too hastily ac- 
cepted, and must be limited to a temporary state of feeling. 

About 1.30 P.M. I was summoned to the Chancellor. He 
wished me to call attention to the difficulties of the King of 
Holland with regard to a new Ministry, and to point to this as 
the result of a purely Parliamentary system under which the 
advisers of the Crown must retire, whatever the condition of 
affairs may be, when a majority of the representatives is op- 
posed to them on any question. He observed : " I remember 
when I became Minister that there had been twenty or twenty- 
one Ministries since the introduction of the constitutional sys- 
tem. If the principle of Ministers retiring before a hostile 
majority be too strictly enforced, far too many politicians will 
be used up. Then mediocrities will have to be taken for the 
post, and finally there will be no one left who will care to de- 
vote himself to such a trade. The moral is that either the 
advantages of a Minister's position must be increased, or the 
Parliamentary system must be applied less stringently." 

The Chief went out for a drive at 3 o'clock, after Russell 
had again called upon him. 

He talked after dinner about his negotiations with Russell 
and the demands of Gortchakoff. He said amongst other 


things : *' They do not want in London to give an unqualified 
approval to the proposal that the Black Sea shall be again given 
up to Russia and the Turks with full sovereignty over its coast. 
They are afraid of public opinion in England, and Russell 
returns again and again to the idea that some equivalent might 
possibly be found. He asked, for instance, whether it would 
not be possible for us to join in the agreement of the i6th of 
April, 1856. I replied that Germany had no real interest in 
the matter. Or whether we would bind ourselves to observe 
neutrality in case of a conflict some day breaking out there. I 
told him I was not in favour of a conjectural policy, such as his 
suggestion involved. It would depend altogether on circum- 
stances. For the present we saw no reason why we should 
take any part in the matter. That ought to suffice for him. 
Besides, I did not believe that gratitude had no place in politics. 
The present Tsar had always acted in a friendly and benevo- 
lent manner towards us. Austria, on the other hand, was up 
to the present little to be trusted and took up at times a very 
dubious attitude. Of course he knew himself how far we were 
indebted to England. The friendship of the Tsar was the 
legacy of old relations, based partly on family connections, but 
partly also on the recognition that our interests are not op- 
posed to his. We did not know what those relations would be 
in future, and therefore it was impossible to speak about them. 
. . . Our position would now be different to what it was 
formerly. We should be the only Power that had reason to be 
satisfied ; we had no call to oblige any one of whose willingness 
to reciprocate our services we could not altogether feel sure. 
. . . He returned again and again to the suggestion as to an 
equivalent, and at length asked me if I could not propose 
something. I spoke of making the Dardanelles and the Black 
Sea free to all. That would please Russia, as she could then 
pass from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean, and Turkey 
also, as she could have her friends, including the Americans, 
near her. It would remove one of the reasons why the Ameri- 
cans held with the Russians, namely, their desire for free 
navigation in all seas. He seemed to recognise the truth of 
that." The Chancellor added : " As a matter of fact, the Rus- 
sians should not have been so modest in their demands. They 
ought to have asked for more, and then the matter of the Black 


Sea would have been granted to them without any difficulty." 
Turning to Abeken the Minister said : ** Write that to Bern- 
storff and also to Reuss for his information. In writing to the 
latter, suggest that in St. Petersburg they should try to find 
something harmless that would look like an equivalent." 

The conversation then turned upon the four new points of 
international law respecting navigation — that no privateers 
should be fitted out, that goods should not be seized so far as 
they were not contraband of war, and that a blockade was only 
►valid when effective, &c. The Chief remarked that one of 
these was flagrantly violated by the French in burning a Ger- 
man ship. He concluded the conversation on this head by 
saying, "We must see how we are to get rid of this rub- 

Wednesday t December i^tk. — The German party of centrali- 
sation are still dissatisfied with the Bavarian Treaty. Trei- 
tschke writes me from Heidelberg on the subject in an almost 
despairing tone: "I quite understand that Count Bismarck 
could not have acted otherwise, but it remains a very regret- 
table affair all the same. Bavaria has once more clogged our 
feet as she did in 18 13 in the Treaty of Ried. So long as we 
have our leading statesman we can manage to move in spite 
of that. But how will it be later on.? I cannot feel that 
unquestioning confidence in the vitality of the new Empire 
which I had in that of the North German Confederation. I 
only hope that the nation will prosper, owing to its own healthy 
vigour, in spite of constitutional deficiencies." 

The Chief and Count Holnstein dined with us. Politics 
were not discussed. The Minister was very cheerful and com- 
municative, and spoke on a variety of subjects. He said, 
amongst other things, that as a young man he was a swift 
runner and a good jumper. His sons, on the other hand, are 
unusually strong in the arms. He should not care to try a fall 
with either of them. 

The Minister then sent for the gold pen that had been pre- 
sented to him by Bissinger, the jeweller, and mentioned that 
the Countess had written to him asking about it, remarking that 
"doubtless it was a lie, like the story of the baby at Meaux." 
We now heard for the first time that a new-born baby, the child 
of one of the French soldiers who had fallen in one of the 

VOL. I. — u 


recent battles, was supposed to have been smuggled into the 
Chief's bed. This was, of course, a mere newspaper invention. 

The conversation afterwards turned on the deputation from 
the Reichstag, which was already at Strasburg, and would 
arrive here to-morrow. The Chancellor said : " We must begin 
to think what we are to reply to their address. The speech- 
making will be a real pleasure to Simson. He has been 
already engaged in several affairs of the kind — in the first 
deputation to the Hohenzollernburg respecting the imperial 
dignity. He makes a good speech, loves to talk, and thor- 
oughly enjoys himself on such occasions." 

Abeken observed that Loewe, the member of the Reichstag, 
said that he also had taken part in such a function, but had 
afterwards plenty of opportunity to think over the matter in a 
foreign country. 

" Ah ! Was he also engaged in the 1849 affair ? " asked the 

" Yes," said Bucher ; " he was President of the Reichstag." 

" But," said the Chief, " he need not have left his country on 
account of the part he took in the proposal as to the Emperor. 
It must have been because of his journey to Stuttgart, which 
was quite a different story." 

The Minister then spoke of the Hohenzollernburg, where 
each branch of the family had a special suite of apartments ; 
of an old castle in Pomerania, where all members of the family 
of Dewitz had a right to lodgings, — it was now reduced to a 
picturesque ruin, after having long served as a stone quarry for 
the inhabitants of the neighbouring country town ; and after- 
wards of a landed proprietor who had a singular way of raising 
money. " He was always hard up, and on one occasion, when 
he was in desperate straits, his woods were attacked by cater- 
pillars, then a fire broke out, and finally a number of trees 
were blown down by a gale. He was miserable, and thought 
he was bankrupt. So the timber had to be sold, and he sud- 
denly found himself in possession of a lot of money, fifty or 
sixty thousand thalers, which set him on his legs again. It had 
never occurred to him that he could have his trees cut down." 

This story led the Chief to speak of another extraordinary 
gentleman, a neighbour of his. (Query, in Varzin.) " He had 
ten or twelve estates, but was always short of ready money, and 




frequently felt a desire to spend some. When he wished to 
invite some people to a decent lunch he usually sold an estate, 
so that at length he had only one or two left. Some of his own 
tenants bought one of the former lot from him for 35,000 
thalers, paying him 5,000 thalers down. They then sold a 
quantity of timber for shipbuilding purposes for 22,000 thalers, 
an idea which, of course, had never occurred to him." 

The Minister then referred to the Hartschiere (big tall men, 
chosen for the Royal Body-Guard on account of their size) in 
Munich, who made a great impression upon him owing to their 
bulk and general character, and who are understood to be ex- 
cellent connoisseurs of beer. 

Finally, it was mentioned that Count Bill was the first Ger- 
man to ride into Rouen. Somebody remarked that his appear- 
ance would have convinced the inhabitants of that city that our 
troops had not up to the present been put on short rations. 
This led the Chancellor to speak again of the strength of his 
"youngsters." "They are unusually strong for their age," he 
said, "although they have not learnt gymnastics — very much 
against my desire, but it is not considered the proper thing for 
the sons of a diplomatist." 

While enjoying his after-dinner cigar the Chief asked if the 
members of his staff were smokers. Yes, every one of them, 
Abeken replied. " Well, then," said the Minister, " Engel must 
divide the Hamburg cigars between them. I have received so 
many that if the war were to last for twelve months I should 
still bring some home with me." 

Thursday y December i^tk. — Count Frankenberg and Count 
Lehndorff joined us at dinner. Prince Pless coming in half an 
hour later. The Chief was in high spirits and very talkative. 
The conversation at first turned on the question of the day, that 
is to say, the commencement of the bombardment. The Minis- 
ter said it might be expected within the next eight or ten days. 
It would possibly not be very successful during the first weeks, 
as the Parisians had had time to take precautions against it. 
Frankenberg said that in Berlin, and particularly in the Reichs- 
tag, no subject was so much discussed as the reasons why the 
bombardment had been postponed up to the present. Every- 
thing else gave way to that. The Chief replied : " Yes, but 
now that Roon has taken the matter in hand, something will be 


done. A thousand ammunition waggons with the necessary 
teams are on their way here, and it is said that some of the new 
mortars have arrived. Now that Roon has taken it up, something 
will at last be done." 

The manner in which the restoration of the imperial dignity 
in Germany had been brought before the Reichstag was then 
discussed, and Frankenberg as well as Prince Pless were of 
opinion that it might have been better managed. The Con- 
servatives had not been informed beforehand, and the state- 
ment was actually made when they were sitting at lunch. To 
all appearance Windthorst was not wrong when, with his usual 
dexterity in seizing his opportunities, he remarked that he had 
expected more sympathy from the Assembly. 

" Yes," said the Chief, " there ought to have been a better 
stage manager for the farce. It should have had a more 
effective mise-en-sdne, — but Delbriick does not understand 
that sort of thing. Some one should have got up to express 
his dissatisfaction with the Bavarian Treaties, which lacked 
this, that, and the other. Then he should have said : * If, 
however, an equivalent were found to compensate for these 
defects, something in which the unity of the nation would find 
expression, that would be different,' — and then the Emperor 
should have been brought forward." ... " Moreover, the 
Emperor is more important than many people think. I could 
not tell them (that is to say, the Princes) what it all means — 
if I ^had, I certainly should not have succeeded. ... I admit 
that the Bavarian Treaty has defects and deficiencies. That 
is, however, easily said when one is not responsible. How 
would it have been, then, if I had refused to make concessions 
and no treaty had been concluded "i It is impossible to conceive 
all the difficulties that would have resulted from such a failure, 
and for that reason I was in mortal anxiety over the easy un- 
concern of centralising gentlemen in the Diet." . . . "Last 
night, after a long interval, I had again a couple of hours of 
good deep sleep. At first I could not get off to sleep, worrying 
and pondering over all sorts of things. Then suddenly I saw 
Varzin before me, quite distinctly to the smallest detail, like a 
big picture, with all the colours even — green trees, the sunshine 
on the stems, and a blue sky above it all. I saw each single 
tree. I tried to get rid of it, but it came back and tormented 




me, and at length when it faded away it was replaced by other 
pictures, documents, notes, despatches, until at last towards 
morning I fell asleep." 

Whilst Bucher and myself were alone at tea, he told me that 
Delbruck, who is the ** Liberal Minister," holds with the Liberals 
and is "thinking of the future." "At an early stage of his 
career the Chief offered him the Ministry of Commerce. Del- 
briick declined it, saying : * Yes, Excellency, but you may not 
remain long yourself, and I should prefer not to accept it. 
What should I do if you retired ? I should be obliged to go 
too and renounce official life, and of course that would not do.* " 



Friday y December i6th. — In the morning I wrote several 
articles on M. de Chaudordy's circular as to the barbarity with 
which we are alleged to conduct the war. They were to the 
following effect : In addition to the calumnies that have been 
circulated for months past by the French press with the object 
of exciting public opinion against us, a document has now been 
issued by the Provisional Government itself for the purpose of 
prejudicing foreign Courts and Cabinets by means of garbled 
and exaggerated accounts of our conduct in the present war. 
An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Tours, M. de 
Chaudordy, impeaches us in a circular to the neutral Powers. 
Let us consider the main points in his statement and see how 
the matter stands in reality, and who can be justly charged 
with barbarous methods of warfare, ourselves or the French. 

He asserts that we make excessive requisitions, and abuse 
our power in the occupied towns and districts, to extort impos- 
sible contributions. We are further stated to have seized pri- 
vate property, and to have cruelly burnt down towns and villages, 
whose inhabitants have offered resistance, or have in any way 
assisted in the defence of their country. Our accuser says : 
"Commanding officers have ordered a town to be plundered 
and burnt down as a punishment for the acts of individual 
citizens whose sole crime consisted in resisting the invaders, 
thus misusing the inexorable discipline imposed upon their 
troops. Every house in which a franctireur had been con- 
cealed, or received a meal, has been burnt down. How can this 
be reconciled with respect for private property .? " The circular 
states that in firing upon open towns we have introduced a pro- 
cedure hitherto unexampled in war. Finally, in addition to all 





Dec. i6, 1870] FRENCH BARBARITY 295 

our Other cruelties, we take hostages with us on railway journeys 
to secure ourselves against the removal of the rails and other 
injuries and dangers. 

In reply to these charges we offer the following observations : 
If M. de Chaudordy understood anything about war, he would 
not complain of the sacrifices which our operations have imposed 
upon the French people, but would, on the contrary, be surprised 
at our relative moderation. Moreover, the German troops re- 
spect private property everywhere, although they can certainly 
not be expected, after long marches and severe fighting, and 
after enduring cold and hunger, to refrain from securing as 
comfortable quarters as possible, or from demanding, or, if the 
inhabitants have fled, helping themselves to absolute necessaries 
such as food, drink, firing, &c. Moreover, instead of seizing 
private property, as M. de Chaudordy asserts, our soldiers have 
frequently done the reverse, and at the risk of their own lives 
rescued for the owners works of art and other valuables which 
were endangered by the fire of the French guns. We have 
burnt down villages, but does our accuser know nothing of our 
reasons for doing so ? Is he not aware that in those villages 
franctireurs have treacherously fired upon our people, and that 
the inhabitants have given every possible assistance to the 
murderers ? Has he heard nothing of the franctireurs who 
recently left Fontaines, and who boldly stated that the object 
of their march was to inspect the houses in the neighbourhood 
which were worth pillaging.? Can he bring forward a single 
well-established case of outrage committed by our soldiers such 
as those of which the Turcos and French guerillas have been 
guilty ? Have our troops cut off the noses or ears of their 
wounded or dead opponents, as the French did at Coulours on 
the 30th of November.? On the nth of December, when 800 
German prisoners should have been brought into Lille, only 200 
of them actually arrived. Many of these were severely wounded, 
yet instead of affording them succour, the people of the town 
pelted them with snowballs, and shouted to the soldiers to bay- 
onet them. The frequency with which the French have fired 
at the bearers of flags of truce is something unheard of. There 
is good evidence for the truth of the following incident, however 
incredible it may appear. On the 2nd of December, a German 
sergeant named Steinmetz, at the express desire of an officer 


of the Garibaldian troops, wrote a letter to his lieutenant in 
Mirecourt, stating that if our side took reprisals against Vittel 
or other places in the neighbourhood, the ears of fourteen Prus- 
sian prisoners, who had fallen into the hands of the guerillas in 
a surprise attack, would be cut off. 

In many instances we have not treated those volunteers as 
soldiers, but that was only in cases where they did not act as 
soldiers, but, on the contrary, followed the principles recom- 
mended by the Prefect, Luce Villiard, in the address issued by 
him through the Maires to the peasants of the Cote d'Or de- 
partment. M. Villiard said : " The country does not demand 
that you should collect in large masses and openly oppose the 
enemy. It expects that every mornmg three or four resolute 
men amongst you shall leave your villages and select some good 
natural position from which you can fire upon the Prussians 
without risk. You must above all direct your fire against the 
enemy's cavalry, and bring their horses in to the chief district 
towns. I will distribute premiums amongst you, and your heroic 
deeds shall be published in all the newspapers of the Provinces 
as well as in the Official Journal." 

We have bombarded open cities, such as Orleans, but is M. 
de Chaudordy not aware that they were occupied by the enemy ? 
And has he forgotten that the French bombarded the open 
towns of Saarbriicken and Kehl ? Finally, as to the hostages 
who were obliged to accompany the railway trains, they were 
taken not to serve as a hindrance to French heroism, but as a 
precaution against treacherous crime. The railway does not 
convey merely soldiers, arms, ammunition, and other war mate- 
rial, against which it may be allowable to use violent measures : 
it also conveys great numbers of wounded, doctors, hospital 
attendants, and other perfectly harmless persons. Is a peasant 
or a franctireur to be allowed to endanger hundreds of those 
lives by removing a rail or laying a stone upon the line ? Let 
the French see that the security of the railway trains is no 
longer threatened and the journeys made by those hostages will 
be merely outings, or our people may even be able to forego 
such precautionary measures. We forbear to deal any further 
with the charges of M. de Chaudordy. The European cabinets 
are aware of the humane sentiments which inspire German 
methods of warfare, and they will easily be able to form a just 



estimate of the value of these charges. War, moreover, is and 
remains war, and it cannot be waged with velvet gloves. We 
should perhaps less frequently employ the iron gloves if the 
Government of National Defence had not declared a people's 
war, which invariably leads to greater harshness than a conflict 
between regular armies. 

Bohlen, who is still unwell, Hatzfeld, who is indisposed, and 
Keudell, who received a command to dine with the King, were 
absent from dinner. Count Holnstein and Prince Putbus were 
present as guests. The first subject to be touched upon was 
the Bavarian Treaty, which Holnstein expected would be ap- 
proved of by the second Bavarian Chamber, in which a two- 
thirds majority was necessary. It was already known that 
there were only some forty members opposed to it. It was also 
practically certain that it would not be rejected by the Upper 

"Thuengen will doubtless be in favour of it," observed the 

" I believe so," replied Holnstein, " as he also voted in favour 
of joining in the war." 

"Yes," saidvthe Minister, "he is one of the honest Particu- 
larists ; but there are some who are not honest and who have 
other objects in view." 

" Certainly," added Holnstein. " Some of the patriots showed 
that quite clearly. They omitted the words, * For King and 
Country,' retaining only * Mit Gott.' " 

Putbus then referred to the approaching holidays, and said 
it would be a good idea to give the people in the hospital a 
Christmas tree. A collection had been started for that pur- 
pose, and 2500 francs had already been received. " Pless and 
I put down our names," he said. "The subscription list was 
then laid before the Grand Duke of Weimar, and he gave 300 
francs ; and the Coburger, who was then attacked, gave 200. 
He would certainly have been glad to get out of it. He should 
at least have contrived not to give more than Weimar or less 
than Pless." " It must certainly have been very disagreeable 
to him," said the Minister. Putbus: "But why.!* He is a rich 
man ! " The Chief : " Very rich ! " Putbus : " Why, certainly, 
he has come in for an enormous forest which is worth over a 
million." The Chief : " The Crown Princess secured that for 


him through all sorts of stratagems, which she also tried on 
with me. But I have done with him. He shall never get my 
signature again." Putbus: ''Besides, 200 francs! He ought 
not to feel it so much. It is not much more than fifty thalers. 
But it is just like him ! " Putbus then said they intended to 
submit the list of subscriptions to his Majesty, whereupon the 
Chief remarked: "Then you will also allow me to join." Put- 
bus afterwards added that Weimar had "not shown himself 
over-generous in other matters. He established an ambulance 
for his regiment, where a couple of officers are now being cared 
for. He demanded payment for their keep from the Comman- 
dant, which of course only the doctors are entitled to do." " But 
surely they have not given it to him," said the Chief. Putbus : 
"Oh, yes; they have though, but not without making some 
remarks on the subject that led to a great deal of bad language 
on his part." 

It was then mentioned that a French balloon had fallen 
down near Wetzlar and that Ducrot was said to be in it. " I 
suppose he will be shot then," said Putbus. " No," replied the 
Chief. "The common jail. Ten years' penal servitude. If he 
is brought before a court-martial nothing will happen to him. 
But a Council of Honour would certainly condemn him. So I 
have been told by officers." 

" Any other news on military matters .? " asked Putbus. 

" Perhaps at the General Staff," replied the Minister, " but 
we know nothing here. We only get such information as can 
be obtained by dint of begging, and that is little enough." 

Later on it was stated that the Government of National 
Defence was thinking of contracting a new loan. Turning to 
me, the Minister said : " It may be useful to call attention in 
the press to the danger investors run in lending money to this 
Government. It would be well to say that the loans made to 
the present Government might possibly not be recognised by 
that with which we concluded peace, and that we might even 
make that one of the conditions of the peace. That should be 
sent to the English and Belgian press in particular." 

Lowinsohn mentioned to me in the evening that a Conserva- 
tive of high position, from whom he sometimes obtained in- 
formation, had said to him that his friends were anxious to 
know what the King was going to say to the deputation from 



the Reichstag. It was understood that he was not pleased at 
their coming, as only the first Reichstag which would represent 
all Germany, and not the North German Reichstag, could 
tender him the imperial crown. (Doubtless the King is think- 
ing less of the Reichstag, which cannot proffer him the impe- 
rial dignity independently, but only in concert with the Princes 
in the name of the whole people, than of the Princes them- 
selves, all of whom will not as yet have replied to the proposal 
of the King of Bavaria.) Furthermore, this Conservative of 
high position would prefer to see the King become Emperor of 
Prussia. (A matter of taste.) Under the other arrangement 
Prussia will be lost in Germany, and that arouses scruples in 
his mind. Lowinsohn also reported that the Crown Prince is 
very indignant at certain correspondents who compared Cha- 
teaudun to Pompeii and drew lively pictures of the devastation 
of the country owing to the war. I suggested to Lowinsohn 
that he should deal with the subject of the new French loan 
and that of "Chaudordy and Garibaldi's ear-clippers" in the 
htd^pendafice Belge^ with which he is connected. He promised 
to do this to-morrow. 

An article for the Kolnische Zeittmg on the new French 
loan was accordingly despatched in the following form : — 

** Yet another loan ! With wicked unconcern the gentlemen 
who now preside over the fortunes of France, and who are 
plunging her deeper and deeper into moral and material ruin, 
are also trying to exploit foreign countries. This was to be 
anticipated for some time past, and we are therefore not sur- 
prised at it. We would, however, call the attention of the 
financial world to the very obvious dangers accompanying the 
advantages which will be offered to them. We will indicate 
them in a few words, in order to make the matter clear. High 
interest and a low rate of issue may be very tempting. But, 
on the other hand, the Government which makes this loan is 
recognised neither by the whole of France nor by a single 
European Power. Moreover, it should be remembered that we 
have already stated our intention that measures would be taken 
to prevent the repayment of certain loans which French munici- 
palities tried to raise for the purposes of the war. We imagine 
that is a sufficient hint that the same principle might be applied 
on a larger scale. The French Government which concludes 


peace with Prussia and her allies (and that will presumably not 
be the present Government) will in all probability be bound, 
among other conditions of peace, not to recognise as binding 
the engagements for payment of interest and redemption of 
loans made by MM. Gambetta and Favre. The Government 
referred to will unquestionably have the right to do this, as 
those gentlemen, although it is true they speak in the name 
of France, have received no mission and no authority from the 
country. People should therefore be on their guard." 

Wollmann came up to me after 10 o'clock, and said that the 
deputation from the Reichstag had arrived. Their chairman, 
Simson, was now with the Chief, who would doubtless inform 
him of the King's disinclination to receive them before all the 
Princes had sent letters declaring their approval. These letters 
would go first to the King of Bavaria, who would afterwards 
send them to our King. All the Princes had already tele- 
graphed their approval — only Lippe still appeared to enter- 
tain scruples. Probably in consequence of this postponement 
it will be necessary for a few members of the deputation to 
fall ill. 

Saturday y December i Jth. — In the course of the forenoon 
I wrote a second paragraph on the new French loan. 

In the afternoon wrote another article on the ever-increas- 
ing instances of French officers breaking their parole and 
absconding from the places where they were interned, and 
returning to France to take service against us again. Over 
fifty of these cases have occurred up to the present. They 
include officers of all ranks, and even three generals — namely, 
Ducrot, Cambriel, and Barral. After the battle of Sedan we 
could have rendered the army that was shut up in that fortress 
harmless by destroying it. Humanity, however, and faith in 
their pledged word induced us to forego that measure. The 
capitulation was granted, and we were justified in considering 
that all the officers had agreed to its terms and were prepared 
to fulfil the conditions which it imposed. If that was not the 
case, we ought to have been informed of the fact. We should 
then have treated those exceptions in an exceptional way, that 
is to say, not accorded to the officers in question the same 
treatment that was granted to the others. In other words, 
they would not have been allowed the liberty which they have 


now abused in such a disgraceful manner. It is true that the 
great majority of the captive officers have kept their word, and 
one might therefore have dismissed the matter with a shrug 
of the shoulders. But the affair assumes another aspect when 
the French Provisional Government approves this breach of 
their pledged word by reappointing such officers to the regi- 
ments that are opposing us in the field. Has there been a 
single case in which one of these deserters was refused read- 
mission to the ranks of the French army ? Or have any 
French officers protested against the readmission of such com- 
rades into their corps ? It is, therefore, not the Government 
alone, but also the officers of France, who consider this dis- 
graceful conduct to be correct. The consequence, however, 
will be that the German Governments will feel bound in duty 
to consider whether the alleviation of their imprisonment 
hitherto accorded to French officers is consistent with the in- 
terests of Germany. And further, we must ask ourselves the 
question whether we shall be justified in placing confidence in 
any of the promises of the present French Government when 
it wants to treat with Germany, without material guarantees 
and pledges. 

We were joined at dinner by Herr Arnim-Krochlendorff, a 
brother-in-law of the Chief, a gentleman of energetic aspect, and 
apparently a little over fifty. The Minister was in very good 
humour, but the conversation this time was not particularly 
interesting. It chiefly turned upon the bombardment, and the 
attitude assumed towards that question by a certain party at 
headquarters. Arnim related that when Gravenitz spoke to the 
Crown Prince on the matter, the latter exclaimed : '* Impossible ! 
nothing to be done; it would be to no purpose," and when 
Gravenitz ventured to argue the point, the Prince declared : 
" Well, then, if you know better, do it! Bombard it yourself ! " 
To which Gravenitz replied: "Your Royal Highness, I can 
only fire 3./et^ de joie {ich kann nur Victoria schiesseny The 
Chief remarked : " That sounds very equivocal. The Crown 
Prince told me the same thing, viz., if I thought the bombard- 
ment would be successful, I had better take over the command. 
I replied that I should like to very much — for twenty-four 
hours, but not longer." He then added in French, doubtless on 
account of the servants: "For I do not understand anything 


about it, although I believe I know as much as he does, for he 
has no great knowledge of these matters." 

Sunday, December iZth. — At 2 o'clock the Chief drove off 
to the Prefecture for the purpose of introducing the deputation 
of the Reichstag to the King. The Princes residing in Ver- 
sailles were in attendance upon his Majesty. After 2 o'clock 
the King, accompanied by the Heir Apparent and Princes 
Charles and Adalbert, entered the reception room where the 
other Princes, the Chancellor of the Confederation, and the 
Generals grouped themselves around him. Among those present 
were the Grand Dukes of Baden, Oldenburg, and Weimar, the 
Dukes of Coburg and Meiningen, the three Hereditary Grand 
Dukes, Prince William of Wiirtemberg, and a number of other 
princely personages. Simson delivered his address to the King, 
who answered very much in the sense that had been anticipated. 
A dinner of eighty covers, which was given at 5 o'clock, brought 
the ceremony to a close. 

On our way back from the park Wollmann told me that the 
Chief had recently written to the King requesting to be per- 
mitted to take part in the councils of war. The answer, how- 
ever, was that he had always been called to join in councils 
of a political nature, as in 1866, that a similar course would 
also be followed in future, and that he ought to be satisfied 
with that. (This story is probably not quite correct, for Woll- 
mann is incapable of being absolutely accurate.) 

Monday, December igth. — I again wrote calling attention 
to the international revolution which arrays its guerilla bands 
and heroes of the barricades against us. The article was to the 
following effect : We understood at first that we were only 
fighting with France, and that was actually the case up to 
Sedan. After the 4th of September another power rose up 
against us, namely the universal Republic, an international asso- 
ciation of cosmopolitan enthusiasts who dream of the United 
States of Europe, &c. 

In the afternoon I took a walk in the park, in the course of 
which I twice met the Chief driving with Simson, the President 
of the Reichstag. The Minister was invited to dine with the 
Crown Prince at 7 o'clock, but first joined our table for half 
an hour. He spoke of his drive with Simson : " The last time 
he was here was after the July Revolution in 1830. I thought 




he would be interested in the park and the beautiful views, but 
he showed no sign of it. It would appear that he has no feel- 
ing for landscape beauty. There are many people of that kind. 
So far as I am aware, there are no Jewish landscape paint- 
ers, indeed no Jewish painters at all." Some one mentioned 
the names of Meyerheim and Bendemann. **Yes," the Chief 
replied, " Meyerheim : but Bendemann had only Jewish grand- 
parents. There are plenty of Jewish composers — Mendels- 
sohn, Halevy — but painters! It is true that the Jew paints, 
but only when he is not obliged to earn his bread thereby." 

Abeken alluded to the sermon which Rogge preached yester- 
day in the palace church, and said that he had made too much 
of the Reichstag deputation. He then added some slighting 
remarks about the Reichstag in general. The Chief replied : 
" I am not at all of that opinion — not in the least. They have 
just voted us another hundred millions, and in spite of their 
doctrinaire views they have adopted the Versailles treaties, 
which must have cost many of them a hard struggle. We 
ought to place that, at least, to their credit." 

Abeken then talked about the events at Ems which preceded 
the outbreak of the war, and related that on one occasion, after 
a certain despatch had been sent off, the King said, "Well, 
he " (Bismarck) " will be satisfied with us now ! " And Abeken 
added, "I believe you were." " Well," replied the Chancellor, 
laughing, "you may easily be mistaken. That is to say, I 
was quite satisfied with you. But not quite as much with our 
Most Gracious, or rather not at all. He ought to have acted 
in a more dignified way — and more resolutely." "I remem- 
ber," he continued, " how I received the news at Varzin. I had 
gone out, and on my return the first telegram had been deliv- 
ered. As I started on my journey I had to pass our pastor's 
house at Wussow. He was standing at his gate and saluted 
me. I said nothing, but made a thrust in the air — thus" (as 
if he were making a thrust with a sword). " He understood 
me, and I drove on." The Minister then gave some particulars 
of the wavering and hesitation that went on up to a certain inci- 
dent, which altered the complexion of things and was followed 
by the declaration of war. "I expected to find another tele- 
gram in Berlin answering mine, but it had not arrived. In the 
meantime I invited Moltke and Roon to dine with me that even- 


ing, and to talk over the situation, which seemed to me to be 
growing more and more unsatisfactory. Whilst we were din- 
ing, another long telegram was brought in. As I read it to 
them — it must have been about two hundred words — they 
were both actually terrified, and Moltke's whole being suddenly 
changed. He seemed to be quite old and infirm. It looked as 
if our Most Gracious might knuckle under after all. I asked 
him (Moltke) if, as things stood, we might hope to be victorious. 
On his replying in the affirmative, I said, ' Wait a minute ! ' 
and seating myself at a small table I boiled down those two 
hundred words to about twenty, but without otherwise altering 
or adding anything. It was Abeken's telegram, yet something 
different — shorter, more determined, less dubious. I then 
handed it over to them, and asked, 'Well, how does that do 
now ? ' ' Yes,' they said, * it will do in that form.' And Moltke 
immediately became quite young and fresh again. He had 
got his war, his trade. And the thing really succeeded. The 
French were fearfully angry at the condensed telegram as it 
appeared in the newspapers, and a couple of days later they 
declared war against us." 

The conversation then wandered back to Pomerania, and if 
I am not mistaken to Varzin, where the Chief had, he said, 
taken much interest in a Piedmontese who had remained be- 
hind after the great French wars. This man had raised him- 
self to a position of consequence, and although originally a 
Catholic, had actually become a vestryman. The Minister 
mentioned other people who had settled and prospered in 
places where they had been accidentally left behind. There 
were also Italians taken as prisoners of war to a district in 
Further Pomerania, where they remained and founded fami- 
lies whose marked features still distinguish them from their 

The Minister did not return from the Crown Prince's until 
past ten o'clock, and we then heard that the Crown Prince was 
coming to dine with us on the following evening. 

Tuesday, December 20th. — On the instructions of the Chief 
I wrote two articles for circulation in Germany. 

The first was as follows : "We have already found it neces- 
sary on several occasions to correct a misunderstanding or an 
intentional garbling of the words addressed by King William 



to the French people on the nth of August last. We are now 
once more confronted with the same attempt to falsify history, 
and to our surprise in a publication by an otherwise respect- 
able French historian. In a pamphlet entitled La France et 
la Pnisse devant V Europe ^ M. d'Haussonville puts forward an 
assertion which does little credit to his love of truth, or let us 
say his scientific accuracy. The whole pamphlet is shallow and 
superficial. It is full of exaggerations and errors, and of asser- 
tions that have no more value than mere baseless rumours. Of 
the gross blunders of the writer, who is obviously blinded by 
patriotic passion, we will only mention that, according to him, 
King William was on the throne during the Crimean War. But 
apart from this and other mistakes, we have here only to deal 
with his attempt to garble the proclamation issued to the French 
in August last, which, it may be observed, was written in French 
as well as in German, so that a misunderstanding would appear 
to be out of the question. According to M. d'Haussonville the 
King said : ' I am only waging war against the Emperor and 
not at all against France.' (^Je ne fais la guerre qu'a rEmpe- 
reur^ et mdlement d la France.) As a matter of fact, however, 
the document in question says : * The German nation, which 
desired and still desires to live in peace with France, having 
been attacked at sea and on land by the Emperor Napoleon, I 
have taken the command of the German armies for the purpose 
of repelling this aggression. Owing to the course taken by the 
military operations, I have been led to cross the French frontier. 
I wage war against the soldiers and not against the citizens of 
France.' (Uempereur NapoUon ay ant attaqu^ par terre et par 
mcr la nation alle^nande^ qui d^sirait et desire encore vivre en 
paix avec la peuple frangais^ j'ai pris le comfnandement des 
armies allemandes pour repousser I 'agression^ et fai /// amen^ 
par les ^v^nements militaires a passer les frontikres de la France. 
Je fais la guerre aux soldats et non aitx citoyens fraftgais.) The 
next sentence excludes all possibility of mistake as to the mean- 
ing of the foregoing statement: * They (the French citizens) 
will accordingly continue to enjoy complete security of person 
and property so long as they themselves do not deprive me of 
the right to accord them my protection by acts of hostility 
against the German troops.' (Ceux-ci continueront, par conse- 
quent ^ djouir d'une cornplHe s^curit^ pour leur personnes et leur 


biens^ atissi longtemps qu'ils ne me priveront eux-memes par des 
entreprises hostiles contre les troupes allemandes du droit de leur 
accorder ma protection?) There is, in our opinion, a very obvi- 
ous difference between d'Haussonville's quotation and the origi- 
nal proclamation, and no obscurity can possibly be discovered 
in the latter to excuse a mistake." 

The second item ran thus : " The Delegation from the Gov- 
ernment of National Defence, which is at present in Bordeaux, 
has satisfied itself that further resistance to the German forces 
is useless, and it would, with the approval even of M. Gambetta, 
be prepared to conclude peace on the basis of the demands put 
forward by Germany. It is understood, however, that General 
Trochu has decided to continue the war. The Delegation en- 
tered into an engagement from Tours with General Trochu not 
to negotiate for peace without his consent. According to other 
reports, General Trochu has had provisions for several months 
stored in the fortress of Mont Val^rien, so that he may fall 
back upon that position after Paris has had to capitulate with a 
sufficient force to exercise influence upon the fate of France 
after the conclusion of peace. His object, it is believed, is to 
promote the interests of the Orleans family, of which General 
Trochu is understood to be an adherent." 

On my taking these paragraphs into the office to have them 
sent off, Keudell told me the Chief had agreed that henceforth 
all State papers received and despatched should be shown to 
me if I asked for them. 

The Crown Prince and his aide-de-camp arrived shortly 
after six o'clock. The former had on his shoulder-straps the 
badges of his new military rank as field-marshal. He sat at 
the head of the table, with the Chief on his right and Abeken 
on his left. After the soup the conversation first turned on 
the subject which I had this morning worked up for the press, 
namely, that according to a communication from Israel, the 
secretary of Laurier, who acts as agent for the Provisional 
Government in London, Gambetta no longer believed in the 
possibility of successful resistance, and was disposed to con- 
clude peace on the basis of our demands. Trochu was the 
only member of the Government who wished to continue the 
struggle, but on his undertaking the defence of Paris, the others 
had bound themselves to act in concert with him in this respect. 



The Chancellor observed : " He is understood to have had 
Mont Val^rien provisioned for two months, so that he may fall 
back upon that position with the regular troops when it becomes 
necessary to surrender the city — probably in order to influence 
the conclusion of peace." He then continued : " Indeed, I be- 
lieve that France will break up into several pieces — the coun- 
try is already split up into parties. There are great differences 
of opinion between the different districts. Legitimists in Brit- 
tany, Red Republicans in the south, and Moderate Republicans 
elsewhere, while the regular army is still for the Emperor, or at 
least the majority of the officers are. It is possible that each 
section will follow its own convictions, one being Republican, 
another Bourbon, and a third Orleanist, according to the party 
that happens to have the most adherents, and then Napoleon's 
people — tetrarchies of Judea, Galilee, &c." 

The Crown Prince said it was believed that Paris must have 
a subterranean communication with the outer world. The 
Chief thought so too, and added : " But they cannot get pro- 
visions in that way, although, of course, they can receive news. 
I have been thinking whether it might not be possible to flood 
the catacombs from the Seine, and thus inundate the lower 
parts of the city. Of course the catacombs go under the 

The Chief then said that if Paris could be taken now it 
would produce a good effect upon public opinion in Bavaria, 
whence the reports were again unsatisfactory. Bray was not 
to be trusted, had not the interests of Germany at heart, in- 
clined to the Ultramontanes, had a Neapolitan wife, felt hap- 
piest in his memories of Vienna, where he lived for a long time, 
and seemed disposed to tack about again. " The King is, after 
all, the best of them all in the upper circles," said the Chan- 
cellor, " but he seems to be in bad health and eccentric, and 
nobody knows what may yet happen." "Yes, indeed," said the 
Crown Prince. " How bright and handsome he was formerly 
— a little too slight, but otherwise the very ideal of a young 
man. Now his complexion is yellow, and he looks old. I was 
quite shocked when I saw him." " The last time I saw him," 
said the Chancellor, " was at his mother's at Nymphenburg, in 
1863, when the Congress of Princes was being held. Even at 
that time he had a strange look in his eyes. I remember that. 


when dining, he on one occasion drank no wine, and on another 
took eight or ten glasses — not at intervals, but hastily, one 
glass after another, at one draught, so that the servant scarcely 
liked to keep on filling his glass." 

The conversation then turned on the Bavarian Prince 
Charles, who was said to be strongly anti-Prussian, but too old 
and feeble to be very dangerous to the cause of German unity. 
Some one remarked : " Nature has very little to do with him as 
it is." " That reminds me of old Count Adlerberg," said the 
Minister, "who was also mostly artificial — hair, teeth, calves, 
and one eye. When he wanted to get up in the morning all his 
best parts lay on chairs and tables near the bed. You remem- 
ber the newly married man in the Fliegende Blatter who 
watched his bride take herself to pieces, lay her hair on the 
toilet table, her teeth on the chimney-piece, and other fragments 
elsewhere, and then exclaimed, * But what remains for me } ' " 
Moreover, Adlerberg, he went on to say, was a terrible bore, and 
it was owing to him that Countess Bismarck once fainted at a 
diplomatic dinner where she was seated between him and Stieg- 
litz. " She always faints when she is exceptionally bored, and 
for that reason I never take her with me to diplomatic dinners." 
" That is a pretty compliment for the diplomats," observed the 
Crown Prince. 

The Chief then related that one evening, not long ago, the 
sentry on guard at the Crown Prince's quarters did not want to 
let him go in, and only agreed to do so on his addressing him in 
Polish. " A few days ago I also tried to talk Polish with the 
soldiers in the hospital, and they brightened up wonderfully on 
hearing a gentleman speak their mother tongue. It is a pity 
that my vocabulary was exhausted. It would, perhaps, be a 
good thing if their commander-in-chief could speak to them." 
" There you are, Bismarck, coming back to the old story," said 
the Crown Prince, smiling. " No, I don't like Polish and I 
won't learn it. I do not like the people." " But, your Royal 
Highness, they are, after all, good soldiers and honest fellows 
when they have been taught to wash themselves and not to pil- 
fer." The Crown Prince : " Yes, but when they cast off the 
soldier's tunic they are just what they were before, and at bot- 
tom they are and still remain hostile to us." The Chief: "As 
to their hostility, that only applies to the nobles and their 



labourers, and all that class. A noble, who has nothing him- 
self, feeds a crowd of people, servants of all sorts, who also 
belong to the minor nobility, although they act as his domestics, 
overseers, and clerks. These stand by him when he rises in 
rebellion, and also the Komorniks, or day labourers. . . . The 
independent peasantry does not join them, however, even when 
egged on by the priests, who are always against us. We have 
seen that in Posen, when the Polish regiments had to be re- 
moved merely because they were too cruel to their own fellow- 
countrymen. ... I remember at our place in Pomerania there 
was a market, attended, on one occasion, by a number of Kas- 
subes (Pomeranian Poles). A quarrel broke out between one of 
them and a German, who refused to sell him a cow because he 
was a Pole. The Kassube was mortally offended, and shouted 
out : * You say I'm a Polack. No, I'm just as much a Prussack 
as yourself ; ' and then, as other Germans and Poles joined in, 
it soon developed into a beautiful free fight." 

The Chief then added that the Great Elector spoke Polish 
as well as German, and that his successors also understood that 
language. Frederick the Great was the first who did not learn 
it, but then he also spoke better French than German. " That 
may be," said the Crown Prince, "but I am not going to learn 
Polish. I do not like it. They must learn German." With 
this remark the subject was allowed to drop. 

At dessert the Crown Prince, after asking if he might smoke 
a pipe, pulled out a short one with a porcelain bowl, on which 
an eagle was painted, while the rest of us lit our cigars. 

After dinner the Crown Prince and the Minister retired with 
the Councillors to the drawing-room, where they took coffee. 
Later on we were all sent for, and formally presented to the 
future Emperor by the Chief. We had to wait for about a 
quarter of an hour while the Chancellor was deep in conversa- 
tion with the Crown Prince. His august guest stood in the 
corner near one of the windows. The Chief spoke to him in a 
low tone, with his eyes mostly cast down, while the Crown 
Prince listened with a serious and almost sullen look. 

After the presentation I returned to the bureau, where I 
read the diplomatic reports and drafts of the last few days, 
amongst others the draft of the King's reply to the Reichstag 
deputation. This had been prepared by Abeken, and greatly 


altered by the Chief. Then an instruction from the Minister to 
the Foreign Office to the effect that if the Provincial Corre- 
spondent should again contain a commendation of Gambetta's 
energy or anything of that kind, every possible means should 
be immediately employed to prevent the publication. Also a 
report from Prince Reuss to the effect that Gortchakoff had 
replied in a negative sense to a sentimental communication of 
Gabriac's, adding that all the Russian Cabinet could do for the 
French at present was to act as letter-carrier in conveying their 
wishes to the Prussian Government. 

At tea Hatzfeld told me had been trying to decipher a 
Dutch report from Van Zuylen, which had come out with Wash- 
burne's budget, and had succeeded, though there were still a 
few doubtful points. He then showed it to me, and together 
we contrived to puzzle out some more of it. The despatch 
seems to be based throughout on good information, and to give 
a faithful account of the situation. 

At 10.30 P.M. summoned to the Chief, who wants the 
Moniteur to mention Gambetta's inclination to forego further 
resistance and Trochu's plan respecting Mont Valerien. 

Wednesday, December 2\st. — At dinner the Chief spoke of 
his great-grandfather, who, if I rightly understood him, fell at 
Czaslau. " The old people at our place often described him to 
my father. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, and a 
great toper. Once in a single year he shot 1 54 red deer, a feat 
which Prince Frederick Charles will scarcely emulate, although 
the Duke of Dessau might. I remember being told that when 
he was stationed at Gollnow, the officers messed together, the 
Colonel presiding over the kitchen. It was the custom there 
for five or six dragoons to march in and fire a volley from their 
carbines at each toast. Altogether they had very curious cus- 
toms. For instance, instead of a plank bed they had as a 
punishment a so-called wooden donkey with sharp edges, upon 
which the men who had been guilty of any breach of discipline 
were obKged to sit, often for a couple of hours — a very painful 
punishment. On the birthday of the Colonel or of other officers, 
the soldiers always carried this donkey to the bridge and threw 
it into the river. But a new one was invariably provided. The 
Burgomaster's wife told my father that it must have been 
renewed a hundred times. I have a portrait of this great-grand- 



father in Berlin. I am the very image of him, that is to say, I was 
when I was young — when I saw myself in the looking-glass." 

The Minister then related that it was owing to a relative of 
his, Finanzrath Kerl, that he was sent to Gottingen University. 
He was consigned to Professor Hausmann, and was to study 
mineralogy. " They were thinking, no doubt, of Leopold von 
Buch, and fancied it would be fine for me to go through the 
world like him, hammer in hand, chipping pieces off the rocks. 
Things, however, turned out differently. It would have been 
better if I had been sent to Bonn, where I should have met 
countrymen of my own. At Gottingen I had no one from 
my own part of the country, and so I met none of my Univer- 
sity acquaintances again until I saw a few of them in the 

Abeken said that after a brisk fire from the forts this morn- 
ing there had been a sortie of the Paris garrison, which was 
principally directed against the positions occupied by the Guards. 
It was, however, scarcely more than an artillery engagement, as 
the attack was known beforehand and preparations had been 
made to meet it. Hatzfeld said he should like to know how 
they were able to discover that a sortie was going to take place. 
It was suggested that in the open country movements of trans- 
ports and guns could not escape detection, as large masses of 
troops could not be concentrated on the point of attack in one 
night. **That was quite true," observed the Chief, with a laugh; 
" but often a hundred louis d'ors also form an important part of 
this military prescience." 

After dinner I read drafts and despatches, from which I 
ascertained, amongst other things, that as early as the ist of 
September, Prussia had intimated in St. Petersburg that she 
would put no difficulties in the way of such action in the matter 
of the Black Sea as has now been taken. 

Later on I arranged that Lowinsohn should deal with the 
Gambetta-Trochu question in the Ind^pe7tdance Beige. Also 
informed him that Delbriick would be here again on the 
28th inst. 

Thursday y December 22nd. — This time there were no stran- 
gers at dinner. The Chief was in excellent spirits, but the con- 
versation was of no special importance. 

A reference was made to yesterday's sortie, and the Chief 


remarked : " The French came out yesterday with three divisions, 
and we had only fifteen companies, not even four battalions, and 
yet we made nearly a thousand prisoners. The Parisians, with 
their attacks now here and now there, remind me of a French 
dancing master conducting a quadrille. 

" Ma comm^re, quand je danse 
Mon cotillon, va-t-il bien ? 
II va de ci, il va de la, 
Comme la queue de notre chat." 

Later on the Chief remarked : " Our august master is not at 
all pleased at the idea of Antonelli at length deciding to come 
here. He is uneasy about it. I am not." Abeken said :" The 
newspapers express very different opinions about Antonelli. 
At one time he is described as a man of great intelligence 
and acumen; then again as a sly intriguer, and shortly after- 
wards as a stupid fellow and a blockhead." The Chief replied : 
" It is not in the press alone that you meet with such contra- 
dictions. It is the same with many diplomats. Goltz and our 
Harry (von Arnim). We will leave Goltz out of the question — 
that was different. But Harry — to-day this way and to-morrow 
that! When I used to read a number of his reports together at 
Varzin, I found his opinion of people change entirely a couple 
of times every week, according as he had met with a friendly or 
unfriendly reception. As a matter of fact, he sent different 
opinions by every post, and often by the same post." 

Afterwards read reports from Rome, London, and Con- 
stantinople, and the replies sent to them. According to Ar- 
nim's despatch, Monsignor Franchi informed him that the 
Pope and Antonelli wished to send a mission to Versailles to 
congratulate the King on his accession to the imperial dignity, 
and at the same time to induce the French clergy to promote 
the liberation of the country from Gambetta, and the negotia- 
tion of peace with us on the basis of a cession of territory. In 
certain circumstances Antonelli himself would undertake the 
task, in which the Archbishop of Tours had failed, of securing 
an acceptable peace. In reply to this communication Arnim 
was informed that it was still uncertain whether Bavaria would 
agree to the scheme of Emperor and Empire. We should, 
nevertheless, carry it through. But, in that case, its chief 



support having been found in public opinion, the (mainly Ultra- 
montane) elements of resistance would be in still more marked 
opposition to the new Germany. Bernstorff reports that the 
former Imperial Minister, Duvernois, had called upon him at 
Eugenie's instance and suggested a cession of territory to us 
equal in extent to that acquired by the Empire in Nice and 
Savoy. The Empress wished to issue a proclamation. Per- 
signy was of a different opinion, as he considered the Empress's 
to be impossible. Bonnechose, the Archbishop of Rouen, ex- 
pressed a similar opinion to Manteuffel. The reply sent to 
Bernstorff was that we could not negotiate with the Empress 
(who, moreover, does not appear to be reliable or politically 
capable), unless Persigny was in agreement with her, and that 
Duvernois' overture was unpractical. Ali Pasha is prepared 
to agree to the abolition of the neutrality of the Black Sea, but 
demands in compensation the full sovereignty of the Porte over 
the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. This was telegraphed by 
us to St. Petersburg, and there agreed to ; whereupon Brunnow 
(the Russian Ambassador in London) received the necessary 
instructions in the matter. 

Friday ^ December 2'^rd. — It was mentioned at dinner that 
General von Voigts-Rhetz was outside Tours, the inhabitants 
having offered so much resistance that it was found necessary 
to shell the town. The Chief added : " He ought not to have 
stopped firing when they hoisted the white flag. I would have 
continued to shell them until they sent out four hundred host- 
ages." He again condemned the leniency of the officers tow- 
ards civilians who offer resistance. Even notorious treachery 
was scarcely punished as it ought to be, and so the French 
imagined that they could do what they liked against us. '* Here 
is, for instance, this Colonel Krohn," he continued. " He first 
has a lawyer tried for aiding and abetting franctireurs, and 
then, when he sees him condemned, he sends in first one and 
then another petition for mercy, instead of letting the man be 
shot, and finally despatches the wife to me with a safe conduct. 
Yet he is generally supposed to be an energetic officer and a 
strict disciplinarian, but he can hardly be quite right in his 

From the discussion of this foolish leniency the conversation 
turned on General von Unger, Chief of the Staff to the 7th 


Army Corps, who had gone out of his mind, and had to be sent 
home. He is, it seems, generally moody and silent, but occa- 
sionally breaks out into loud weeping. " Yes," sighed the 
Chief, "officers in that position are terribly harassed. Con- 
stantly at work, always responsible, and yet unable to get things 
done, and hampered by intrigue. Almost as bad as a Minister. 
I know that sort of crying myself. It is over-excitement of the 
nerves, hysterical weeping. I, too, had it at Nikolsburg and 
badly. A Minister is just as badly treated — all sorts of wor- 
ries — an incessant plague of midges. Other things can be 
borne, but one must be properly treated. I cannot endure 
shabby treatment. If I were not treated with courtesy, I 
should be inclined to throw my ribbon of the Black Eagle into 
the dust-bin." 

The Versailles Moniteur having been mentioned, the Chief 
observed : " Last week they published a novel by Heyse, the 
scene of which is laid in Meran. Such sentimental twaddle 
is quite out of place in a paper published at the cost of the 
King, which after all this one is. The Versailles people do 
not want that either. They look for political news and military 
intelligence from France, from England, or, if you like, from 
Italy, but not such namby-pamby trash. I have also a touch 
of poetry in my nature, but the first few sentences of that stuff 
were enough for me." Abeken, at whose instance the novel 
was published, stood up for the editor, and said the story had 
been taken from the Revue des Deux Mondes, an admittedly 
high-class periodical. The Chief, however, stuck to his own 
opinion. Somebody remarked that the Moniteur was now 
written in better French. "It may be," said the Minister, "but 
that is a minor point. However, we are Germans, and as such 
we always ask ourselves, even in the most exalted regions, if 
we please our neighbours and if what we do is to their satisfac- 
tion. If they do not understand, let them learn German. It 
is a matter of indifference whether a proclamation is written 
in a good French style or not, so long as it is otherwise adequate 
and intelligible. Moreover, we cannot expect to be masters of 
a foreign language. A person who has only used it occasionally 
for some two and a half years cannot possibly express himself 
as well as one who has used it for fifty-four years." Steinmetz's 
proclamation then received some ironical praise, and a couple 


1870] NAPOLEON III. 315 

of extraordinary expressions were quoted from it. Lehndorff 
said : " It was not first-class French, but it was, at any rate, 
intelligible." The Chief: "Yes, it is their business to under- 
stand it. If they cannot, let them find some one to translate 
it for them. Those people who fancy themselves merely be- 
cause they speak good French are of no use to us. But that 
is our misfortune. Whoever cannot speak decent German is a 

made man, especially if he can murder English. Old (I 

understood, Meyendorff) once said to me : * Don't trust any 
Englishman who speaks French with a correct accent.* I have 
generally found that true. But I must make an exception in 
favour of Odo Russell." 

The name of Napoleon III. then came up. The Chief 
regarded him as a man of limited intelligence. " He is much 
more good-natured and much less acute than is usually be- 
lieved." "Why," interrupted Lehndorff, "that is just what 
some one said of Napoleon I. : * A good honest fellow, but a 
fool.'" "But seriously," continued the Chief, "whatever one 
may think of the coup d'etat he is really good-natured, sensitive, 
even sentimental, while his intellect is not brilliant and his 
knowledge limited. He is a specially poor hand at geography, 
although he was educated in Germany, even going to school 
there, — and he entertains all sorts of visionary ideas. In July 
last he spent three days shilly-shallying without being able to 
come to a decision, and even now he does not know what he 
wants. People would not believe me when I told them so a 
long time ago. Already in 1854-55 I told the King, Napoleon 
has no notion of what we are. When I became Minister I had 
a conversation with him in Paris. He believed there would cer- 
tainly be a rising in Berlin before long and a revolution all 
over the country, and in a plebiscite the King would have the 
whole people against him. I told him then that our people do 
not throw up barricades, and that revolutions in Prussia are 
only made by the Kings. If the King could only bear the 
strain for three or four years, he would carry his point. Of 
course the alienation of public sympathy was unpleasant and 
inconvenient. But if the King did not grow tired and leave me 
in the lurch, I should not fall. If an appeal were made to 
the population, and a plebiscite were taken, nine-tenths of 
them would vote for the King. At that time the Emperor 


said of me: ^Ce tCest pas un homme s^rieiix' Of course I 
did not remind him of that in the weaver's house at Don- 

Somebody then mentioned that letters to Favre began 
"Monsieur le Ministre," whereupon the Chief said : " The next 
time I write to him I shall begin Hochwohlgeborner Herr!'' 
This led to a Byzantine discussion of titles and forms of 
address, Excellenz^ Hochwohlgeboren^ and Wohlgeboren. The 
Chancellor entertained decidedly anti-Byzantine views. "All 
that should be dropped," he said. " I do not use those ex- 
pressions any longer in private letters, and officially I address 
councillors down to the third class as HochwohlgeborenJ" 

Abeken, a Byzantine of the purest water, declared that dip- 
lomats had already resented the occasional omission of portions 
of their titles, and that only councillors of the second class were 
entitled to Hochwohlgeboren. " Well," said the Chief, *' I want 
to see all that kind of thing done away with as far as we are 
concerned. In that way we waste an ocean of ink in the 
course of the year, and the taxpayer has good reason to com- 
plain of extravagance. I am quite satisfied to be addressed 
simply as ' Minister President Count von Bismarck.' " 

Saturday, December 24th. — Bucher told us at lunch he had 
heard from Berlin that the Queen and the Crown Princess had 
become very unpopular, owing to their intervention on behalf of 
Paris; and that the Princess, in the course of a conversation 
with Putbus, struck the table and exclaimed : " For all that, 
Paris shall not be bombarded!" 

We are joined at dinner by Lieutenant-Colonel von Becke- 
dorff, an old and intimate friend of the Chief, who said to him : 
" If I had been an officer — I wish I were — I should now have 
an army and we should not be here outside Paris." He pro- 
ceeded to give reasons for believing that it was a mistake to 
have waited and invested Paris. With regard to the operations 
of the last few weeks, he criticised the advance of the army so 
far to the north and south-west and the intention of advancing 
still further. "If it should become necessary to retire from 
Rouen and Tours, the French will think they have beaten us. 
It is an unpractical course to march on every place where a 
mob has been collected. We ought to remain within a certain 
line. It may be urged that in that case the French would be 


able to carry on their organisation beyond that line. But they 
will always be able to do that even if we advance, and we may 
be obliged ultimately to follow them to the Pyrenees and the 
Mediterranean." "When we were still at Mayence, I thought 
that the best plan would be for us to take what we wanted to 
keep and occupy some five other departments as a pledge for 
the payment of the cost of the war, and then let the French try 
to drive us out of our positions." 

A further discussion of the conduct of the war followed, in 
the course of which the Chief remarked: ''With us it occasion- 
ally happens that it is not so much the generals who begin and 
direct the course of battles as the troops themselves. Just as it 
was with the Greeks and Trojans. A couple of men jeer at 
each other and come to blows, lances are flourished, others rush 
in with their spears, and so it finally comes to a pitched battle. 
First the outposts fire without any necessity, then if all goes 
well others press forward after them; at the start a non-com- 
missioned officer commands a batch of men, then a lieutenant 
advances with more men, after him comes the regiment, and 
finally the general must follow with all the troops that are left. 
It was in that way that the battle of Spicheren began, and also 
that of Gravelotte, which properly speaking should not have 
taken place until the 19th. It was different at Vionville. There 
our people had to spring at the French like bulldogs and hold 
them fast. At St. Privat the Guards made a foolish attack 
merely out of professional jealousy of the Saxons, and then 
when it failed threw the blame on the Saxon troops, who could 
not have come a minute sooner with the long march they had 
had to make, and who afterwards rescued them with wonderful 

Later on I was summoned to see the Chief. Various articles 
are to be written on the barbarous manner in which the French 
are conducting the war — and not merely the f ranctireurs, but 
also the regulars, who are almost daily guilty of breaches of the 
Geneva Convention. The French appear only to know, and 
appeal to, those clauses that are advantageous to themselves. 
In this connection should be mentioned the firing at flags of 
truce, the ill-treatment and plundering of doctors and hospital 
bearers and attendants, the murder of wounded soldiers, the 
misuse of the Geneva Cross by franctireurs, the employment of 

3l8 BISMARCK'S "GEWGAWS" [Dec. 26 

explosive bullets, and the treatment of German ships and crews 
by French cruisers in breach of the law of nations. The con- 
clusion to be as follows : — The present French Government is 
greatly to blame for all this. It has instigated a popular war 
and can no longer check the passions it has let loose, which 
disregard international law and the rules of war. They are 
responsible for all the severity which we are obliged to employ 
against our own inclinations and contrary to our nature and 
habits, as shown in the conduct of the Schleswig and Austrian 

At 10 P.M. the Chief received the first class of the Iron 

At tea Hatzfeld informs me that he is instructed to collect 
all the particulars published by the newspapers respecting the 
cruelties of the French, and asks whether I would not prefer to 
undertake that task. After I promised to do so, he continued : 
" Moreover, I believe the Chief only sent for me in order to tell 
me his opinion of the new decoration." He said to Hatzfeld : 
'* I have already enough of these gewgaws, and here is the good 
King sending me the first class of the Iron Cross. I shall be 
thoroughly ridiculous with it, and look as if I had won a great 
battle. If I could at least send my son the second class which 
I no longer want ! " 

Sunday, December 2^th. — Cardinal Bonnechose of Rouen is 
said to be coming here. He and Persigny want to convoke the 
old Legislative Assembly, and still more the Senate, which is 
composed of calmer and riper elements, in order to discuss 
the question of peace. The Chief is believed to have made 
representations to the King respecting the expediency, on po- 
litical grounds, of greater concentration in the military opera- 

We had no guests at dinner, and the conversation was, for 
the most part, not worth repeating. The following may, how- 
ever, be noted. Abeken said he had observed that I was keep- 
ing a very complete diary, and Bohlen added in his own lively 
style: *'Yes, he writes down: 'At 45 minutes past 3 o'clock 
Count or Baron So-and-so said this or that,' as if he were going 
to swear to it at some future time." Abeken said: "That will 
one day be material for history. If one could only live to read 
it ! " I replied that it would certainly furnish material for 



history, and very trustworthy material, but not for thirty 
years to come. The Chief smiled and said : " Yes, and 
the reference will then be : ' Conferas Buschii, cap. 3, p. 
20.' " 

After dinner I read State documents and ascertained from 
them that an extension of the German frontier towards the 
west was first officially submitted to the King, at Herny, on 
the 14th of August. It was only on the 2nd of September 
that the Baden Government sent in a memorial in the same 

Monday y December 26th. — Waldersee dined with us. The 
conversation was almost entirely on military subjects. With 
respect to the further conduct of the war, the Chief said that 
the wisest course would be to concentrate our forces in Alsace- 
Lorraine, the department of the Meuse, and another neighbour- 
ing department, which would amount to a strip of territory with 
about 2,600,000 inhabitants. If one took in a few other depart- 
ments in addition, without Paris, it would amount to about seven 
millions, or with Paris to about nine million inhabitants. In 
any case the operations should be limited to a smaller area than 
that occupied by our armies at present. 

People's ability to carry liquor was then discussed, and the 
Chief observed : " Formerly drink did not affect me in the least. 
When I think of my performances in that line ! The strong 
wines, particularly Burgundy ! " The conversation afterwards 
turned for a while on card-playing, and the Minister remarked 
that he had also done a good deal in that way formerly. He 
had once played twenty-one rubbers of whist, for instance, one 
after the other — "which amounts to seven hours' time." He 
could only feel an interest in cards when playing for high 
stakes, and then it was not a proper thing for the father of a 

This subject had been introduced by a remark of the Chief's 
that somebody was a " Riemchenstecher." He asked if we 
understood what the word meant, and then proceeded to explain 
it. " Riemchenstechen " is an old soldiers* game, and a " Riem- 
chenstecher " is not exactly a scamp, but rather a sly, sharp 
fellow. The Minister then related how he had seen a father 
do his own son at cards out of a sum of twelve thousand thalers. 
" I saw him cheat, and made a sign to the son, who understood 


me. He lost the game and paid, although it cost him two 
years* income. But he never played again." 

After dinner wrote another article on the barbarity with 
which the French wage war, and cut out for the King an article 
from the Staatsbuergerzeitung, recommending a less considerate 
treatment of the enemy. 



On Tuesday, the 27th of December, the long-wished-for 
bombardment of Paris at length began, commencing on the 
east side. As the following particulars show, we at first knew 
nothing of it, and afterwards also it was only for a few days 
that the firing gave an impression of being particularly violent. 
We very soon grew accustomed to it, and it never entirely 
diverted our attention even from trifles, nor caused any lengthy 
interruption of our work or of the flow of thought. The French 
forts had been prepared for it. The diary may now resume its 

From early morning on Tuesday until far into the day there 
was a heavy fall of snow and rather severe cold. In the morn- 
ing Theiss, who serves Abeken as well as myself, and who 
seems to consider that our old Geheimrath is a Catholic, told 
me : — " He always reads his prayers in the morning. I believe 
it is Latin. He speaks very loud, so that he can sometimes be 
heard in the antechamber. Probably it's a mass." He then 
added that Abeken supposed the heavy firing that was heard 
from 7 A.M. was the commencement of the bombardment. 

Wrote several letters to Berlin with instructions as to articles. 
Bray is to be sharply attacked by our newspapers. After 12 
o'clock I telegraph to London on the instructions of the Chief 
that the bombardment of the outer fortifications began this 
morning. Our artillery has commenced with an attack upon 
Mont Avron, a redoubt near Bondy, and it appears that the 
Saxons had the honour to fire the first shot. 

The Minister remained in bed the whole day, not because 
he was particularly unwell, but, as he told me, to maintain an 
equable warmth. He was also absent from dinner, at which we 
were joined by Count Solms. The only point of note in the 

VOL. I. — Y 321 


conversation was Abeken's mention of a very pretty poem in 
the Kladderadatsch, on the Duke of Coburg — probably a 

The Bonapartists seem to have become very active, and to 
entertain great plans. According to Bernstorff's despatches 
Persigny and Palikao intend to get us to grant neutrality to 
Orleans, and to convoke there the Corps Legislatif to decide 
whether the country is to have a republic or a monarchy, and 
if the latter which dynasty is to reign. It is intended, however, 
to wait for a while, until greater discouragement shall have 
made the people more accommodating. Bonnechose proposes 
to attempt a negotiation for peace between Germany and France. 
This prelate was formerly a lawyer, and only entered holy 
orders subsequently. He is considered to be intelligent, is con- 
nected with the Jesuits, and, although in politics he is really a 
Legitimist, he has a high opinion of Eugenie because of her 
piety. He was an ardent supporter of the doctrine of infalli- 
bility, and expects to be elected Pope, which position he has 
indeed some prospect of attaining. The Archbishop told Pro- 
fessor Wagener, who had been sent to see him by Manteuffel 
respecting the hospital arrangements, that he could induce 
Trochu, with whom he is acquainted, to surrender Paris in 
case we did not insist upon a cession of territory. The Arch- 
bishop suggested that instead of a cession of territory we might 
demand the return of Nice and Savoy to Victor Emmanuel, and 
then oblige the latter to restore their territories to the Pope and 
to the Sovereigns of Tuscany and Naples. In that way we 
should win renown as the protectors of order and the restorers 
of justice in Europe. A strange idea indeed ! 

The Chief has given directions to adopt the severest meas- 
ures against Noquet le Roi, where a surprise by franctireurs 
was assisted by the inhabitants. He has also rejected the 
appeal of the mayor and municipality of Chatillon to be relieved 
from a contribution of a million francs imposed upon the town 
as a penalty for similar conduct. In both cases he was guided 
by the principle that the population must be made to suffer by 
the war in order to render them more disposed to peace. 

At II P.M. called to the Chief, who gave me several news- 
paper articles from Berlin "for the collection " (of examples of 
French barbarity in the conduct of the war which I have begun 


under his instructions), as well as two other articles that are to 
be sent to the King. 

Wednesday, December 2%th. — Snowfall and moderately cold. 
The Chief again kept to his room to-day. He handed me a 
letter in French, dated the 25th instant, which he had received 
from " Une Am^ricaine." I am to make what use I like of it. 
It runs as follows : — 

" Graf von Bismarck. Jouissez autant que possible, Herr 
Graf, du climat frais de Versailles, car, un jour, vous aurez a 
supporter des chaleurs infernales pour tous les malheurs que 
vous avez causes ^ la France et ^ I'Allemagne." That is all ! 

His Excellency Herr Delbriick again lunches with us. He 
is convinced that the Second Bavarian Chamber will ultimately 
approve the Versailles treaties just as the North German Diet 
did, respecting whose decision he had been really uneasy for 
some days. 

Thursday, December 2gth. — The Minister still remains in 
bed, but works there, and does not seem to be particularly 

In the afternoon I translated for the King Granville's de- 
spatch to Loftus respecting Bismarck's circular on the Luxem- 
burg affair. Afterwards studied documents. In the middle of 
October the Chief received a memorial from Coburg with pro- 
posals as to a reorganisation of Germany. These also included 
the restoration of the imperial dignity, and finally the substitu- 
tion for the Bundesrath of a Federal Ministry, and the creation 
of a Reichsrath to consist of representatives of the Govern- 
ments and delegates from the Diets. The Chief replied to this 
memorial that some of the ideas brought forward were already 
for some time past in process of realisation. He could not 
agree to the proposals as to a Federal Ministry and the Reichs- 
rath, as he considered them calculated to hamper the new 
organisation, and, if necessary, he would openly declare against 
them. It is reported from Brussels that the King of the Bel- 
gians is well disposed towards us, but has no means of controll- 
ing the anti-German press of the country. The Grand Duke of 
Hesse has stated that Alsace and Lorraine must become Prus- 
sian provinces. Dalwigk (his Minister), who is as opposed to 
us as ever, wishes to see the territory to be ceded by France 
incorporated with Baden. The Grand Duchy would then cede 


the district near Heidelberg and Mannheim to Bavaria, whose 
connection with the Palatinate on the left bank of the Rhine 
would be thus reestablished. In Rome the Pope wishes to 
undertake *' mediation " between ourselves and France. The 
expression quoted was objected to by Arnim as inappropriate. 

The following particulars relating to the King of Bavaria 
are contained in a report from Munich : " His kingdom is not 
of this world. It has been further observed that Major Sauer 
has no longer any influence upon him, while that of Privy 
Councillor Eisenhart has increased, as indeed also that of Count 
Holnstein. He is not coming to Versailles, in the first place 
because he would be obliged to ride, which he can no longer do 
with comfort, and in the next place because he does not like to 
play second fiddle. All that Bray thinks of is to keep his own 
position in Vienna warm, if only for the sake of his livelihood." 
Lutz is "the tite forte in the Ministry, and is very ambitious." 
The Princes Karl and Ludwig are strongly anti-Prussian. The 
Nuncio's secretary exercises a great influence with his chief. — 
Read a letter from King Lewis to our Crown Prince. It was 
written at the commencement of the war. The handwriting is 
coarse and ugly and the Hnes are not straight. It expresses 
a hope that the independence of Bavaria will be respected. 
Otherwise the tone of the epistle is soundly patriotic. 

In the evening I handed Bucher, as material for an article, 
all the newspaper reports I have collected on the barbarous 
conduct of the war by the French, contrary to the law of 

At 10 o'clock I was called to the Chief, who was lying be- 
fore the fire on a sofa, wrapt in a blanket. He said : *' Well, 
we've got him ! " " Whom, your Excellency .^ " " Mont 
Avron." He then showed me a letter from Count Waldersee, 
reporting that this redoubt was occupied by the troops of the 
1 2th Army Corps this afternoon. " It is to be hoped that they 
have laid no mine and that the poor Saxons will not be blown 
up." I telegraphed the news of this first success in the bom- 
bardment to London, but in cipher, " as otherwise the general 
staff might be angry." 

Subsequently the Chancellor sent for me once more to show 
me an outburst of the Vienna Tageblatt which has been repro- 
duced by the Kolnischs Zeitimg. It declares that Bismarck has 



been thoroughly deceived as to the power of resistance of Paris, 
and in his overhaste, which has already cost the lives of hun- 
dreds of thousands (why not at once say millions ?), has put for- 
ward excessive demands in connection with the peace. We 
reply, through the Spenersche Zeitungy that up to the present 
no one knows what the Chancellor's conditions are, as he has 
not yet had any opportunity of stating them officially, but they 
do not in any case go so far as German public opinion, which 
almost unanimously demands the cession of all Lorraine. No 
one can say either what his views were respecting the power of 
resistance of Paris, as he has never had to give official expres- 
sion to them. 

Friday, December 2iOth, — The bitter cold of the last few 
days still continues. In consequence of his indisposition the 
Chief still keeps to his room, and is indeed mostly in bed. In 
the morning, on his instructions, I telegraphed particulars of 
the occupation of Mont Avron, and of the disgraceful conduct 
of the French authorities, who, according to the official ac- 
knowledgment of the delegation at Tours, have offered a pre- 
mium to imprisoned officers to return to France, in breach of 
their word of honour. On the suggestion of the Chief I write 
paragraphs on this subject for the German press as well as for 
the local Moniteur to the following effect : — 

" We have frequently had occasion to direct attention to the 
profound demoralisation manifested by French statesmen and 
officers in the matter of military honour. A communication, 
which reaches us from a trustworthy source, proves that we had 
not up to the present realised how deep and widespread that 
evil is. We have now before us an official order issued by the 
French Ministry of War, the 5th Bureau of the 6th Depart- 
ment, which bears the title * Solde et revues.* It is dated from 
Tours on the 13th of November, and is signed by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Alfred Jerald, and by Colonel Tissier of the general 
staff of the 17th Army Corps. This order, which is based 
upon another dated the lOth of November, assures all French 
officers imprisoned in Germany, without distinction, a money 
payment in case they escape from custody. We repeat, all the 
French officers without distinction ; that is to say also those 
who have given their word of honour not to escape. The 
premium offered for such dishonourable conduct amounts to 


750 francs. A measure of this description needs no comment. 
Honour (which is the dearest treasure of every German officer 
and — duty and justice demand that we should add — formerly 
also of all French officers) is regarded by the men who came to 
power on the 4th of September as a commodity to be bought 
and sold, and indeed very cheaply. In this way officers of the 
French army will come to believe that France is no longer 
administered by a Government, but is on the contrary exploited 
by a trading firm, and one with lax principles of honesty and 
decency, under the title of * Gambetta and Co.' 'Who'll buy 
gods ? ' ' Who'll sell his word of honour ? ' " 

Afterwards I write another short article on an error fre- 
quently committed by the Kblnische Zeitimg and recently re- 
peated in connection with the Chancellor's despatch to Vienna. 
The great Rhenish newspaper writes: "Ever since 1866 we 
have been amongst those who have persistently warned both 
Vienna and Berlin to dismiss their idle jealousies and to come 
to the best understanding possible in the circumstances. We 
have often regretted the personal irritation between Bismarck 
and Beust which appears to stand in the way of such a 
rapprochement, &c." The reply is to the following effect: — 
" It has been observed that the Kdbiische Zeitung has already 
frequently sought to explain political acts and omissions of the 
Chancellor of the Confederation by personal motives, personal 
likes and dislikes, personal disposition and ill humour ; and we 
have here a further instance of this unjustifiable course. We 
cannot imagine why such suspicions are time after time brought 
forward. We only know that absolutely no feeling of personal 
irritation exists between the Chancellor of the North German 
Confederation and the Chancellor of the Austria-Hungarian 
Monarchy, and indeed that, previous to 1866, when they often 
came into personal contact, they were on excellent terms, as 
Count Bismarck himself declared in the North German Reichs- 
tag. Since then nothing has happened between them as 
private persons calculated to create bitterness, if for no other 
reason than because they have had no personal intercourse. If 
they have taken up a position more or less antagonistic to each 
other, the reasons are obvious. Up to the present they were 
the representatives of different political systems, and acted 
upon different political principles which it was difficult, al- 


though not quite impossible, to reconcile. This, and this alone, 
is the sole explanation of what the Kolnische ZeitJing ascribes 
to personal motives, from which the thoughts and acts of no 
statesman of the present day are farther removed than those of 
the Chancellor of the Confederation. It may also be remarked 
incidentally that not only has Count Bismarck not been 
* thoroughly ' deceived as to the power of resistance of Paris, 
but he has not been deceived at all. His opinion has never 
been asked on the subject; but we know on the best authority 
that months ago he regarded the capture of the city as difficult, 
and was decidedly opposed to the investment even before the 
fall of Metz." 

In reading documents in the evening I find that the Chief 
has had a letter sent to General Bismarck-Bohlen stating that 
he does not agree with the general in thinking that his main 
task should be to alleviate the misery caused by the war, 
and to render the Alsacians well disposed towards the future 
masters of the country. For the moment his first business 
must be to promote the objects of the war and to secure the 
safety of the troops. He should therefore expel such French 
officials as will not take service under us, including the magis- 
trates who will not discharge the duties of their office; and he 
should also withhold the payment of pensions directing the 
pensioners to apply to the Government at Tours. Under such 
conditions the people would be more disposed to call for 

Saturday^ December 31^-/. — All our people are ailing. I 
also begin to feel exhausted. It will be well to shorten the 
night work which my diary entails, or to interrupt it altogether 
for a few days. 

Tuesday^ January ^rd. — I observe that the opinion already 
expressed by the Chief on several occasions, that the dispersion 
of the German forces towards the north and south-west is 
dangerous, and that more concentration is desirable, is also 
held elsewhere. A military authority has written on this sub- 
ject in the Vienna Presse ; and the National Zeitung of the 
31st of December publishes an article which is even more in 
harmony with the Chief's views. It says, inter alia: — "The 
withdrawal of our troops from Dijon and the non-occupation 
of Tours, to the gates of which a division of the loth Army 


Corps had advanced, give perhaps an indication of the views 
entertained generally on the German side, and which will 
govern the continuation of the campaign. It may possibly be 
expected that France will forego further resistance after the 
fall of Paris, and will agree to the German conditions of peace. 
That, however, is not certain, and it is necessary to be prepared 
for an opposite contingency. In any case the fall of Paris will 
not be immediately followed by the establishment of a Govern- 
ment generally recognised and supported by a National Assem- 
bly, with which we could enter into negotiations for peace. 
Then if hostilities are to be continued they cannot aim at con- 
quering the whole of such an extensive country as France. 
Our army, as hitherto, might indeed be everywhere victorious 
and disperse the hostile forces. That, however, would not be 
sufficient. It would be necessary to organise a new civil admin- 
istration in all the conquered districts and to subject the popu- 
lation to its rule. Even in the country lying between the 
Channel and the Loire our forces would not be sufficient to 
completely secure the safety of communications and to main- 
tain the authority of a foreign administration in each town and 
village, to prevent treacherous attacks and to collect the taxes 
as well as the contributions and supplies that are indispensable 
for the purposes of the war. To extend the area of occupation 
indefinitely would not only be to overtax our military power, 
however highly we may rate it, but to unduly drain our home ser- 
vices for the necessary supply of civil administrators. There- 
fore, if peace is not attainable within a very short time our 
military authorities must set clear and distinct limits to the task 
which they propose to themselves. They must select a fixed 
portion of French territory, which they can occupy so com- 
pletely that we shall have full command over it, and can retain 
it as long as may be desired. This portion should include the 
capital and the best provinces, with the finest and most war- 
like population, and it would have, of course, to bear the whole 
burden and cost of the war until a peace party had grown up 
throughout the country strong enough to force its views upon 
the government of the day. The occupied territory should be 
so limited as to make its defence as easy as possible from a 
military point of view. Of course further offensive operations 
for temporary purposes might be undertaken beyond those 

1 87 1] BISMARCK UNWELL 329 

lines, but there should from the beginning be no intention of 
going permanently beyond them. In the meantime the work 
of annexation should be proceeded with in those districts which 
Germany requires for the security of her frontier without await- 
ing the conclusion of peace." 

Friday, Januaiy 6th. — Up to yesterday the cold was very 
severe. The Chief has been unwell nearly the whole week. 
Yesterday for the first time he went out for a short drive, and 
again this afternoon. The Bureau has been reinforced by two 
officials, namely Oberregierungsrath Wagener and Baron von 
Holstein, a secretary of embassy. Amongst the articles which 
I have written within the last few days was one concerning the 
withdrawal of a number of railway waggons from home traffic, 
and consequently from the use of German industry, solely for 
the purpose of collecting provisions here in anticipation of the 
time when famine shall at length compel Paris to surrender. I 
described this as humane, but unpractical and impolitic, as the 
Parisians, when they hear that we have made preparations for 
that event, will continue their resistance to the last crust of bread 
and the last joint of horseflesh. We shall, therefore, ourselves 
be contributing through such acts of humanity to a prolongation 
of the siege. It is not for us to provide against the threatened 
danger of famine by establishing storehouses or collecting the 
means of transport for reprovisioning the city, but rather for 
the Parisians themselves by means of a timely capitulation. I 
yesterday translated for the use of the King two English docu- 
ments respecting the sinking of English coal ships near Rouen 
by our troops, who considered the measure necessary. 

After dinner I read despatches and drafts. A demand has 
been addressed to the German railways to supply a number 
of waggons ( " 2,800 axles " ) for the purpose of transporting 
provisions to Paris. The Chief entered an energetic protest 
against this measure, which would be prejudicial to us from a 
political standpoint, as the knowledge of those provisions would 
enable the holders of power in Paris to exhaust all their sup- 
plies before finally yielding, without any fear of famine at the 
last moment. A telegram was sent to Itzenplitz on the 3rd of 
January suggesting that he should not deliver a single waggon 
for this purpose, and asking him to reply by wire whether he 
would decline such requisitions. If not, the Chief " would 


request his Majesty to relieve him from all responsibility." 
Itzenplitz telegraphed back that he agreed with the views of 
the Chancellor of the Confederation, and would act accordingly. 
A letter from the King of Sweden, addressed to a Commandant 
Verrier in Erfurt, is to be returned through the Dead Letter 
Office. His Swedish Majesty, whom we know not to be par- 
ticularly well disposed towards us, says in this epistle, which, 
by the way, is written in bad French, with many orthographi- 
cal errors, that he regrets to have to watch the struggle with 
"folded arms," and to be obliged to **eat his bread in peace." 
** Nous nous armons tardivementy h^las ! mats avec vigueur, et 
fesp^re que le jour de verigeance arrivera ! " Vengeance .'' What 
have the Swedes to avenge upon us 1 It would seem as if 
Prince Charles of Rumania were no longer able to manage the 
local extremists, and were thinking of abdicating and leaving 
the country. "We have no political interests in Rumania." 
The Chief has made representations to the King suggesting a 
limitation of the seat of war for political reasons, namely on 
the ground that only thus shall we be able to maintain our po- 
sition in the occupied portions of France and take full advan- 
tage of our occupation ; and he has further proposed that we 
should give notice to withdraw from the Geneva Convention, 
which is unpractical. Bonnechose has, at the instance of the 
Pope, addressed a letter to King William in favour of peace, 
but of an " honourable " peace, that is to say, one that would 
not involve a cession of territory. That we could have had 
twelve weeks ago from Monsieur Favre, if the Chief had not 
preferred a useful peace. For this reason the Minister recom- 
mended that the letter should be left unanswered. According 
to an intimation from Persigny, Prince Napoleon wishes to 
come to Versailles in order to act as intermediary. He is a 
highly intelligent and amiable gentleman, but enjoys little con- 
sideration in France, and therefore the Chancellor declined to 
negotiate with him. In the London Conference on the Black 
Sea question we are to give every possible support to Russia's 
demands. The Dowager Queen at Dresden has suggested to 
Eichmann (the Prussian Minister) that it would be an indica- 
tion of confidence in Saxony if we were to allow them to garri- 
son Konigstein with Saxon troops alone. 

Saturday, January yth. — Haber suggested that possibly 


some political documents of importance for us might be found 
in Odillon Barrot's house at Bougival. I asked the Minister's 
permission to go over there with Bucher. He replied : " That 
is all very well, but is it a private library ? I must preserve 
the things for M. Odillon Barrot. But you can see if there is 
anything political amongst them." It proved on examination 
to be a well-chosen library, containing historical and political 
works, as well as polite literature. It included also a number 
of English books, but contained nothing of the character sus- 
pected by Haber. 

This evening the Minister dines with us again. 

We hear at tea that the bombardment of the forts on the 
north side of Paris has also begun, and shows good results. 
Fires have broken out in Vaugirard and Crenelles — whence 
probably the smoke arose which we saw yesterday from the 
hills between Ville d'Avray and Sevres. 

Keudell thinks I ought to tell the Chief. I go up to him 
at a quarter to 1 1. He thanks me, and then asks, " What time 
is it.?" I answer, "Nearly 11, Excellency." "Well, then, 
tell Keudell to prepare the communication for the King." I 
ascertain downstairs that this is a complaint that by 1 1 o'clock 
at night the military authorities have not communicated to the 
Minister matters of which civilians were informed at 2 p.m. 

Simday, January Sik. — At dinner the Chief gave some 
further reminiscences of his youth. He spent the time from 
his sixth to his twelfth year at the Plahmann Institute in Berlin, 
an educational establishment worked on the principles of Pesta- 
lozzi and Jahn. It was a period he could not think of with 
pleasure. The regime was artificially Spartan. While there 
he never fully satisfied his hunger, except when he was invited 
out. "The meat was like india-rubber, not exactly hard, but 
too much for one's teeth. And carrots — I liked them raw, — 
but cooked, and with hard potatoes, square junks ! " 

This led up to the pleasures of the table, the Chief giving 
his views chiefly of certain varieties of fish. He had a pleasant 
recollection of fresh-river lampreys, of which he could eat eight 
or ten ; he then praised schnapel, a kind of whiting, and the 
Elbe salmon, the latter being " a happy mean between the Bal- 
tic salmon and that of the Rhine, which is too rich for me." 
With regard to bankers' dinners, "nothing is considered good 


unless it is dear, — no carp because it is comparatively cheap in 
Berlin, but zander (a kind of perch-pike) because it is difficult 
to carry. As a matter of fact, I do not care for these, and just 
as little for lampreys, of which the flesh is too soft for me. But 
I could eat marena every day of the week. I almost prefer 
them to trout, of which I only like those of a medium size, 
weighing about half a pound. The large ones that are usually 
served at dinners in Frankfort, and which mostly come from 
the Wolfsbriinnen near Heidelberg, are not worth much. They 
are expensive, and so one must have them. That's also the way 
at Court with oysters. They don't eat any in England when 
the Queen is present, as they are too cheap there." 

The conversation then turned on the Arc de Triomphe in 
Paris, which was compared with the Brandenburg Gate. The 
Chief said of the latter: "It is really beautiful in its way — 
particularly without the two pillared porticos. I have advised 
the King to let it stand free, and have the guardhouses removed. 
It would be much more effective, as it would no longer be 
squeezed in and partly concealed as it is now." 

Wagener having mentioned his former journalistic work, the 
Minister said : " I know my first newspaper article was about 
shooting. At that time I was still a wild junker. Some one 
had written a spiteful article on sport, which set my blood boil- 
ing, so that I sat down and wrote a reply, which I handed to 
Altvater, the editor, but without success. He answered very 
politely, but said it would not do, he could not accept it. I was 
beside myself with indignation that any one should be at liberty 
to attack sportsmen without being obliged to listen to their 
reply; but so it was at that time." 

The defence put forward by the Luxemburg Government in 
reply to our complaints respecting breaches of neutrality is in- 
sufficient. It perhaps shows the good will of that Government, 
but certainly the facts prove that they are not able to maintain 
their own neutrality. They have been again warned, further 
evidence being given in support of our charges. If this does 
not prove effective, we shall be obliged to occupy the Grand 
Duchy, and hand over his passports to the Grand Ducal Minister 
in Berlin. A communication to the same effect has been made 
to the Powers that signed the Treaty of 1867. According to a 
memorandum in which the Chief proposed to the King that the 


statesmen who concluded the treaties providing for the acces- 
sion of Baden and Wiirtemberg to the North German Confed- 
eration should receive decorations, an exception was to be made 
in the case of Dalwigk, because he had constantly intrigued and 
worked against Prussia and the cause of German unity, and only 
finally gave way on the compulsion of necessity ; and his decora- 
tion would, therefore, have a bad effect upon public opinion, 
which had frequently urged the exercise of Prussian influence to 
secure his dismissal. 

Monday, January <^th. — It is reported from London that 
Prince Napoleon has a plan under consideration for conclud- 
ing on his own authority a peace satisfactory to us, and then 
after the capitulation of Paris convoking the two Chambers to 
ratify the treaty, and to decide upon the future form of gov- 
ernment, and eventually upon the future dynasty. This plan 
would be supported by Vinoy and Ducrot. The Orleanists 
are also active, and hope to win over Thiers to their side. 
Bernstorff reports that it has been ascertained from a servant 
of Dr. Reitlinger, Favre's secretary, that he has endeavoured 
to hatch a democratic conspiracy in South Germany. Gladstone 
has received Reitlinger, and promised to support him in every 
possible way. 

In the afternoon I drafted a telegram as to the further suc- 
cessful progress of the bombardment. On submitting it to 
the Chief, he struck out a passage in which it was mentioned 
that our shells had fallen in the Luxembourg Gardens, as being 
" impolitic." He also instructed me to telegraph to the Foreign 
Office in Berlin to omit this passage from the report of the 
general staff. 

The following pretty story is making the round of the news- 
papers. It is taken from the private letter of a German officer, 
and was first published in the Leipziger Tageblatt. " One day 
the aide-de-camp. Count Lehndorff, visited Captain von Strantz 
at one of the outposts at Ville d'Avray, near Paris. In reply 
to the Count's question as to how he was getting on, the Cap- 
tain said: 'Oh, very well; I have just been dining for the 
sixty-seventh time off roast mutton.' The Count laughed, and 
after a while drove off again. Next day a policeman called 
upon the Captain with the following message : * It having come 
to the knowledge of his Excellency Count Bismarck, Chancellor 

334 THE IRON CROSS [Jan. 9 

of the Confederation, that Captain von Strantz would doubtless 
be dining to-day off his sixty-eighth joint of roast mutton, his 
Excellency sends him herewith four ducks as a change of 
menu.' " This anecdote has the advantage over most of those 
appearing in the press, that it is in the main correct. But the 
policeman did not call on the next day. Count Lehndorff dined 
with us a few days before Christmas. 

The Chief was shaved as usual on coming to dinner to-day. 
He first mentioned that Count Bill had received the Iron Cross, 
and seemed to think that it should more properly have been 
given to his elder son, as he was wounded in the cavalry charge 
at Mars la Tour. " The wound was an accident," he went on, 
"and others who were not wounded may have been equally 
brave. But it is, after all, a distinction, a kind of compensa- 
tion for the wounded." " I remember when I was a young 
man that one Herr von Reuss went about Berlin also wearing 
the Cross. I thought to myself what wonders he must have 
done ; but I afterwards ascertained that he had an uncle who 
was a Minister, and he had been attached to the general staff 
as a kind of private aide-de-camp." 

The Chancellor suddenly remarked: ** It must be three 
weeks since I saw Serenissimus.^ It is not so long since I saw 
Serenior.2 I cut the Sereni." The Chancellor then continued, 
obviously with reference to the Sereni, that is the Princes at 
the Hotel des Reservoirs, or one of them, but without any con- 
necting sentence : " I remember at Gottingen I once called a 
student a silly youngster. (Dummer Junge, the recognised 
form of offence when it is intended to provoke a duel.) On 
his sending me his challenge I said I had not wished to offend 
him by the remark that he was a silly youngster, but merely to 
express my conviction." 

While we were discussing pheasant and sauer-kraut, some 
one remarked that the Minister had not been out shooting for 
a long time, although the woods between Versailles and Paris 
were full of game. "Yes," he replied, "something has always 
happened to prevent me. The last time was at Ferrieres ; the 
King was away and he had forbidden shooting, that is to say, 
in the park, just as he has now given orders that Ferrieres must 

1 The King. 2 The Crown Prince. 




be spared, merely because it belongs to a rich Jew. We did not 
go into the park, and there was plenty of game, but not much 
of it was shot, as the cartridges were bad." Holstein, who, by 
the way, turns out to be exceedingly amiable, hard-working, 
and helpful, remarked : " This is the account given of the affair, 
Excellency. You were aware of his Majesty's orders, and of 
course desired to obey them. But it unfortunately happened 
as you were taking a walk on one occasion you were suddenly 
set upon by three or four pheasants and were obliged to shoot 
them down in self-defence." 

The French Rothschild recalled the German one, of whom 
the Chief related a very amusing story. He said : " When the 
members of the Reichstag were here recently, I was seated 
next to Rothschild at the Crown Prince's, The Prince sat next 
to me, and on his other side was Simson. Rothschild smokes 
a great deal, and smelt of that and other things, and so I 
thought I would play a little practical joke before we sat down. 
But it did not succeed. It is only after dinner that stewards of 
the household begin to be sensible and listen to a body. I had 
my revenge, however, by letting my neighbour have the benefit 
of my remarks. I said to him, * You should have a house in 
Berlin, and invite people to see you and so on.' * What do you 
mean } * he asked, in a loud and almost angry voice. * Am I to 
give dinners in a restaurant ? * * Well, you might do that too,' 
I replied, * but to other people, not to me. In my opinion you 
owe it to the credit of your house. But the best thing would 
be to have a place of your own in Berlin. You know there is 
nothing to be expected any longer from the Paris and London 
Rothschilds, and so you ought to do something in Berlin. 
People are constantly surprised that you have not yet got into 
the Almanach de Gotha. Of course, what has not been done 
up to now may yet happen, but I am afraid you are not going 
the right way to work." 

Finally polite literature came to be discussed, and Spiel- 
hagen's " Problematische Naturen" was mentioned. The Chan- 
cellor had read it, and did not think badly of it, but he said: 
" I shall certainly not read it a second time. One has abso- 
lutely no time here. Otherwise a much-occupied Minister 
might well take up such a book and forget his despatches over 
it for a couple of hours." Freytag's " Soil und Haben " was 


also mentioned, and his description of the Polish riots, as well 
as the story of the bread-and-butter Miss and the ball, were 
praised, while his heroes were considered insipid. One said 
they had no passion, and another no souls. Abeken, who took 
an active part in the conversation, observed that he could not 
read any of these things twice, and that most of the well-known 
modern authors had only produced one good book apiece. 
**Well," said the Chief, ** I could also make you a present of 
three-fourths of Goethe — the remainder, certainly — I should 
like to live for a long spell on a desert island with seven or 
eight volumes out of the forty." Fritz Reuter was then re- 
ferred to, and the Minister remarked, "*Uit de Franzosentid,' 
very pretty but not a novel." " Stromtid " was also mentioned. 
" H'm," said the Chief, '''Dai is as dat ledder is' (That's just 
how it is, a favourite expression of one of the characters in the 
book) — that, it is true, is a novel, and it contains many good 
and others indifferent, but all through the peasants are de- 
scribed exactly as they are." 

In the evening I translated for the King a long article from 
the Times on the situation in Paris. Afterwards at tea Keudell 
spoke very well and sensibly of certain qualities of the Chancel- 
lor, who reminded him of Achilles, his great gifts, the youth- 
fulness of his character, his quickness of temper, his tendency 
to Weltsckmerz, his inclination to withdraw from great affairs, 
and his invariably victorious action. Our times coiuld boast a 
Troy, and also an Agamemnon, shepherd of the nations. 

Tuesday y January loth. — Earth and sky are full of snow. 
A shot is only to be heard now and again from our batteries, or 
from the forts. Count Bill is here, and General von Manteuffel 
calls at I o'clock. They are passing through on their way to 
the army that is to operate against Bourbaki in the south-east 
under Manteuffel. During the afternoon I telegraph twice to 
London reporting the retreat of Chanzy at Le Mans, with the 
loss of a thousand men who were made prisoners, and Werder's 
victorious resistance at Villersexel to a superior French force 
advancing to the relief of Belfort. 

The first subject mentioned at dinner is the bombardment. 
The Chief holds that most of the Paris forts are of little impor- 
tance, except perhaps Mont Valerien — " Not much more than 
the redoubts at Diippel." That is to say the moats are not very 


deep, and formerly the walls were also weak. The conversation 
then turns on the International League of Peace and its connec- 
tion with social democracy as shown by the fact that Karl Marx, 
who is now living in London, has been appointed President of 
the German branch. Bucher describes Marx as an intelligent 
man with a good scientific education and the real leader of the 
international labour movement. With reference to the League 
of Peace the Chief says that its efforts are all of an equivocal 
character, and that its aims are something very different to 
peace. It is a cloak for communism. " But," he concludes, 
** certain august personages have even now no idea of that. 
Foreign countries and peace ! " In this connection he referred 
to the influence and attitude of Queen Augusta. 

Count Bill, according to the Chief, " looks from a distance 
like an old staff officer, he is so stout. He was very lucky in 
being selected to accompany Manteuffel. Of course, it would 
be only a temporary billet, but he would see a great deal of the 
war. For his age he has a good opportunity to learn some- 
thing. That was impossible for one of us at eighteen. I should 
have been born in 1795 to have taken part in the campaign of 

18 1 3." " Nevertheless since the battle of (I could not catch 

the name, but he referred apparently to an engagement in the 
Huguenot war) there was not one of my ancestors who did not 
draw the sword against France. My father and three of his 
brothers were engaged against Napoleon I. Then my grand- 
father fought at Rossbach ; my great-grandfather against Louis 
XIV., and his father against the same King in the little war on 
the Rhine in 1672 or 1673. Then several of us fought on the 
imperial side in the Thirty Years* War, others, it is true, joining 
the Swedes. And finally still another was amongst the Ger- 
mans who fought as mercenaries on the Huguenot side. One 
— there is a picture of him at Schonhausen with his children — 
was an original character. I still have a letter from him to his 
brother-in-law in which he says, * The cask of Rhine wine costs 
me eighty reichsthalers. If my worthy brother-in-law considers 
that too dear I will, so God spares me, drink it myself.' And 
another time : ' If my worthy brother-in-law maintains so-and- 
so, I hope, so God preserves me, to come into closer contact 
with his person than will be pleasant to him.* And again in 
another place: 'I have spent 12,000 reichsthalers on the regi- 

VOL. I. — z 


merit, but I hope, if God spares me, to make as much out of it in 
time.' The economies referred to consisted probably in draw- 
ing pay for men who were on furlough or who only existed on 
paper. Certainly the commander of a regiment was better off 
at that time than now." Some one observed that was also the 
rule at a later period, so long as regiments were recruited, paid, 
and clad by the colonels and hired by the Princes, and possibly 
the same thing still happened in other countries. The Chief : 
" Yes, in Russia for instance, in the great cavalry regiments in 
the Southern provinces which often have as many as sixteen 
squadrons. There the colonel had, and doubtless yet has, other 
sources of income. A German once told me, for instance, that 
on a new colonel taking over the command of a regiment, — I 
believe it was in Kursk or Woronesch, — the peasants of this 
wealthy district came to him with waggons full of straw and 
hay, and begged the 'little father' to be gracious enough to 
accept them. 'I did not know what they wanted,' said the 
colonel, and so I told them to be off and leave me in peace. 
But the * little father ' ought to be fair, they urged ; his predeces- 
sor had been satisfied with that much, and they could not give 
more, as they were poor people. At length I got tired of it, 
particularly as they became very pressing and went down on 
their knees entreating me to accept it, and I had them bundled 
out of doors. But then others came with loads of wheat and 
oats. Then I understood what was meant, and took everything 
as my predecessor had done, and when the first lot returned 
with more hay I told them that what they had brought before 
was enough and they could take back the rest. And thus I 
secured an annual sum of 20,000 roubles, as I charged the Gov- 
ernment for the hay and oats required by the regiment.' He 
related that quite frankly and unabashed in a drawing-room in 
St. Petersburg, and I was the only one who was surprised at it." 
" But what could he have done to the peasants ? " asked Del- 
briick. " He himself could have done nothing," replied the 
Chief, " but he might have ruined them in another way. He 
only required Jtot to forbid the soldiers to take what they liked 
from them." 

Mant^uffel was again spoken of, and somebody mentioned 
that he had broken his leg at Metz, and had to be carried on 
the battlefield. Manteuffel was greatly surprised that we had 


not known this, and the Minister remarked that he must cer- 
tainly have thought us very badly informed as to the incidents 
of the war. Later on the Chief said : " I remember how I sat 
with him and (I did not catch the name) on the stones out- 
side the Church at Blekstein. The King came up, and I pro- 
posed that we should greet him like the three witches in Macbeth: 
' Hail, Thane of Lauenburg ! Hail, Thane of Kiel ! Hail, Thane 
of Schleswig ! ' It was when I was negotiating the Treaty of 
Gastein with Blome. I then played quinze for the last time in 
my life. Although I had not played then for a long time, I 
gambled recklessly, so that the others were astounded. But I 
knew what I was at. Blome had heard that quinze gave the 
best opportunity of testing a man's character, and he was 
anxious to try the experiment on me. I thought to myself, I'll 
teach him. I lost a few hundred thalers, for which I might 
well have claimed reimbursement from the State as having 
been expended on his Majesty's service. But I got round 
Blome in that way, and made him do what I wanted. He took 
me to be reckless, and yielded." 

The conversation then turned upon Berlin, some one having 
remarked that it was from year to year assuming more the 
appearance of a great capital, also in its sentiments and way of 
thinking, a circumstance which to some extent reacted on its 
Parliamentary representatives. ''They have greatly altered 
during the last five years," said Delbriick. " That is true," said 
the Chief; "but in 1862, when I first had to deal with those 
gentlemen, they recognised what a hearty contempt I enter- 
tained for them, and they have never become friends with me 

The Jew$ then came to be discussed, and the Minister 
wished to know how it was that the name Meier was so common 
amongst them. That name was after all of German origin, and 
in Westphalia it meant a landed proprietor, yet formerly the Jews 
owned no land. I submitted that the word was of Hebrew 
origin and occurred in the Old Testament and also in the Tal- 
mud, being properly Mefr and akin to " Or," i.e., light, brilliance, 
whence the signification of Enlightened, Brilliant, Radiant. 
The Chief then inquired the meaning of Kohn, a name very 
common amongst them also. I said it signified Priest, and was 
originally Kohen. From Kohen it became Kohn, Kuhn, Cahen, 


and Kahn. Kohn and Kahn were also occasionally transformed 
into Hahn, a remark which caused some amusement, as it prob- 
ably reminded the company of the ** Presshahn," who is at the 
head of the Berlin Literary Bureau. " I am of opinion," con- 
tinued the Minister, " that to prevent mischief, the Jews will 
have to be rendered innocuous by cross-breeding. The results 
are not bad." He then mentioned some noble houses, Lynars, 
Stirums, Gusserows : "All very clever, decent people." He 
then reflected for a while and, omitting one link from the chain 
of thought, probably the marriage of distinguished Christian 
ladies to rich or talented Israelites, he proceeded : " It is better 
the other way on. One ought to put a Jewish mare to a Chris- 
tian stallion of German breed. The money must be brought 
into circulation again, and the race is not at all bad. I do not 
know what I shall one day advise my sons to do." 

I spent the whole time after dinner at work, principally 
reading despatches. The Rumanian (Prince Charles) has sent 
the Chancellor a letter, written in his own hand, requesting 
advice in his difficulties. He seems to be in the greatest per- 
plexity, and the Powers will not help him, England and Austria 
are at least indifferent, the Porte is inclined to look upon the 
unification of the Principalities as to its interests, France is now 
of no account, the Tsar Alexander is, it is true, well disposed to 
Prince Charles but will not interfere, and intervention on the 
part of Germany, who has no practical interests in Rumania, 
is not to be expected. Therefore, if the Prince cannot help 
himself out of his difficulties, he had better retire before he is 
obliged to. Such was the counsel addressed to him by the 
Chief through Keudell. Beust has been informed of this. It 
would appear that Beust's despatch in reply to the announce- 
ment of the approaching union of South Germany with the 
North shows a new departure in his political views, and it is 
possible that even under him satisfactory relations may be 
developed and maintained between the two newly organised 
Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary. He reported that a 
new comic paper, Der Bismarck, was being founded in Vienna, 
and that he would do everything in his power to prevent this 
abuse of the name. The Chief has recently addressed a com- 
munication to the King in which he requests : (i) That the 
telegrams of the General Staff before being despatched to Ber- 



lin should be submitted to him and his approval obtained, as 
they might have political bearings — as, for example, in the case 
of the shells that fell in the Luxembourg Gardens. (2) That 
he should receive full information of the course of military 
operations, instead of being indebted for detailed particulars to 
the newspapers and private persons. Subalterns and members 
of the Ambulance Corps were kept better informed than he. 

At 10.30 P.M. the Chief comes down to tea, at which Count 
Bill also joins us. Abeken returns from Court and brings the 
news that the fortress of Pdronne, with a garrison of 3,000 men, 
has capitulated. The Chief, who was just looking through the 
Illiistrirte Zeittmg, sighed and exclaimed : " Another 3,000 ! If 
one could only drown them in the Seine — or at least their 
Commander, who has broken his word of honour ! " 

This led the conversation to the subject of the numerous 
prisoners in Germany, and Holstein said it would be a good 
idea to hire them out to work on the Stroussberg railway. 
"Or," said the Chief, "if the Tsar could be induced to settle 
them in military colonies beyond the Caucasus. It is said to 
be a very fine country. This mass of prisoners will really form 
a difficulty for us after the peace. The French will thus have 
an army at once, and one fresh from a long rest. But there 
will really be no alternative. We shall have to give them back 
to Napoleon, and he will require 200,000 men as a Pretorian 
Guard to maintain himself." " Does he then really expect to 
restore the Empire } " asked Holstein. " Oh, very much," re- 
plied the Chief, " extremely, quite enormously much. He thinks 
of it day and night, and the people in England also." 

Holstein then related how certain people belonging to the 
English Embassy had behaved very unbecomingly outside the 
place where the French prisoners are confined in Spandau, and 
had fared badly in consequence. Cockerell was knocked down 
and beaten black and blue, so that he afterwards looked " quite 
as if he had been painted." Loftus did not at first want to 
intervene, but was ultimately induced by the other diplomats 
to enter a complaint. " Did they give this Cockerell a sound 
hiding.? " asked Count Bill. "Oh, certainly," replied Holstein, 

" and Miss (name escaped me), who tried to interfere on 

his behalf, also received a few blows." "Well, I am glad 
Cockerell got a proper dressing," said the Chief, "it will do 


him good. I am sorry for the lady. But it is a pity that 
Loftus himself did not get thrashed on the occasion, as we 
should then be rid of him." 

We dnes day y January nth. — Bernstorff reports that Clement 
Duvernois, a former Minister of Napoleon, wishes to come here 
in order to negotiate for peace in the name of the Empress. 
She will agree in principle to the cession of territory and the 
new frontier demanded by us, and also to the payment of a 
war indemnity and the occupation of a certain portion of France 
by our troops until it is paid, and will promise not to enter into 
negotiations respecting peace with any other Power than Ger- 
many. Duvernois is of opinion that although the Empress is 
not popular, yet she would act energetically, and as a legal 
ruler would have more authority and offer us a better security 
than any person elected by and dependent upon the representa- 
tives of the country. Duvernois assisted in provisioning Paris 
and accordingly knows that it must surrender shortly, and 
therefore as time presses, he is anxious to hurry on negotiations. 
Will he be received if he comes } Perhaps, if only in order to 
make the members of the Government in Paris and Bordeaux 
more yielding. 

During dinner the bombardment was discussed, as is now 
usually the case. Paris was said to be on fire, and some one 
had clearly seen thick columns of smoke rising over the city. 
"That is not enough," said the Chief. "We must first smell 
it here. When Hamburg was burning the smell could be 
distinguished five German miles off." The opposition offered 
by the " Patriots " in the Bavarian Chamber to the Versailles 
Treaty was then referred to. The Chief said : " I wish I could 
go there and speak to them. They have obviously got into a 
false position and can neither advance nor retire. I have 
already been doing my best to bring them into the right way. 
But one is so badly wanted here in order to prevent absurdities 
and to preach sense." 

Thursday, January 12th. — At dinner the conversation again 
turned on the bombardment. On somebody observing that the 
French complain of our aiming at their hospitals, the Chief 
said : " That is certainly not done intentionally. They have 
hospitals near the Pantheon and the Val de Grace, and it is 
possible that a few shells may have fallen there accidentally. 


H'm, Pantheon, Pandemonium ? " Abeken had heard that the 
Bavarians intended to storm one of the south-eastern forts that 
had returned our fire in a weak way. The Chief commended 
the Bavarians, adding : "If I were only in Munich now, I 
would bring that home to their members of Parliament in such 
a way that I should immediately win them over to our side." 

The Chancellor then told us that the King preferred the 
title "Emperor of Germany "to that of "German Emperor." 
"I gave him to understand that I did not care a brass far- 
thing. He was of a different opinion. Rather the country than 
the people. I then explained to him that the first would be a 
new title and would at least have no historical basis. There 
had never been an Emperor of Germany, and though it was 
true there had also been no German Emperor, there had been 
a German King." Bucher confirmed that statement and re- 
marked that Charlemagne assumed the title of "Imperator 
Romanorum." Subsequently the Emperor was called " Impera- 
tor Romanus, semper augustus, and German King." 

At II P.M. the King sent the Chief a pencil note in his own 
handwriting on a half sheet of letter paper, informing him that 
we had just won a great victory at Le Mans. The Minister, 
who was visibly pleased and touched at this attention, said as 
he handed me the slip of paper in order that I should telegraph 
the news : " He thinks the General Staff will not let me know, 
and so he writes himself." 

Friday, Jamiary iT^tk. — Arnim sends a florid account from 
Rome of the visit paid by Victor Emmanuel to the Eternal City. 
He mentions a report received from the Nuncio at Bordeaux 
respecting an attempt by the Government Delegation in that 
city to secure the intervention of the Pope for the purpose of 
negotiating a peace. The Cardinal in communicating this to 
the Minister added that the French are now disposed to make 
greater concessions than at Ferrieres, and asked if in principle 
the Pope's mediation would be agreeable to us. Arnim replied 
that the French Government knew our conditions and could 
conclude peace at any time on that basis. Arnim states that 
the efforts made by the Curia on behalf of peace are sincere, 
but are based on interested motives. The Cardinal asked if it 
was not intended to grant France any compensation for the 
proposed cession of territory, whereupon Arnim replied that we 


had no right to dispose of the territory of other States. The 
Cardinal obviously had Italy in view, and meant that France 
should indemnify herself by annexing Piedmont and reinstating 
the Pope in Rome. The despatch concludes as follows : " My 
presence here complicates our position, as it awakens hopes 
that cannot be realised, and maintains intimate relations that 
clog our footsteps without making the ground upon which we 
stand any firmer." Thile reports that Queen Augusta told him 
the sinking of the English coal ships near Rouen had made 
more bad blood in England than was believed here. The 
Crown Princess knew from the letters of her mother that sym- 
pathy for our cause was daily decreasing there. Thile replied 
that he was surprised to hear it, as Bernstorff made no mention 
of it. 

We are joined at dinner by Regierungsprasident von Ernst- 
hausen, a portly gentleman, still young, and by the Chief, who 
is to dine with the Crown Prince, and only remains until the 
Varzin ham comes to table, of which he partakes " for the sake 
of home memories." Turning to Ernsthausen, he says : " I am 
invited to the Crown Prince's, but before going there I have 
another important interview for which I must strengthen my- 
self." "Wednesday will be the i8th, and the Festival of the 
Orders, so we can publish the proclamation to the German peo- 
ple on that day." (The Proclamation of Emperor and Empire, 
upon which Bucher is now at work.) (To Ernsthausen : ) " The 
King is still in doubt about * German Emperor ' or * Emperor of 
Germany.' He inclines to the latter. But it does not appear 
to me that there is much difference between the two titles. It 
is like the Homousios or Homoiousios in the Councils of the 
Church." Abeken corrected : "Homousios." The Chief: "We 
pronounce it oi. In Saxony they have the lotacism. I remem- 
ber in our school there was a pupil from Chemnitz who read 
that way" (and he then quoted a Greek sentence), "but the 
teacher said to him * Stop ! That won't do ! We don't hail 
here from Saxony.' " 

After dinner I read the latest despatches and some older 
drafts. Those of special interest were instructions from the 
Chief to the Minister of Commerce that the amount expended 
for the provisioning of Paris could not be included in the Bud- 
get, and a memorandum in which Moltke defended the supply 


of provisions for the Parisians. The 2,800 waggons with pro- 
visions were, he says, not intended solely for the Parisians, but 
also for our own troops — for the former seven million rations 
of two pounds each for three days — and it would be well if 
there were still more waggons in France. The Chief returned 
from the Crown Prince's at 9.30 p.m., and shortly afterwards he 
instructed me to telegraph that we had made 8,000 prisoners at 
Le Mans, and captured twelve guns, and that Gambetta, who 
wished to be present at the battle, nearly fell into our hands, but 
just made his escape in time. Afterwards I cut out Unruh's 
speech dealing with the scarcity of locomotives on the Ger- 
man railways, for submission to the King. 



Saturday, January i^tk. — Count Lehndorff dined with us 
to-day. The Chief mentions that Jules Favre has written to 
him. He wishes to go to the Conference in London, and 
asserts that he only ascertained on the loth inst. that a safe 
conduct was held in readiness for him. He desires to take with 
him an unmarried and a married daughter, together with her 
husband — who has a Spanish name — and a secretary. " He 
would doubtless prefer a pass for M. le Ministre et suite. He 
has the longing of a vagabond for a passport." But he is not 
to receive one at all, the soldiers being simply instructed to let 
him through. Bucher is to write that it will be best for him to 
go by way of Corbeil, as he will not then have to leave the car- 
riage which he brings from Paris and to walk for some way on 
foot, afterwards taking another carriage. His best route will 
also be by Lagny and Metz, and not by Amiens. If he does 
not wish to go by way of Corbeil he is to say so, and then the 
military authorities will be instructed accordingly. " One would 
be inclined to think," added the Chief, "from his desire to take 
his family with him, that he wants to get out of harm's, way." 

In the further course of conversation the Minister observed: 
" Versailles is really the most unsuitable place that could have 
been chosen from the point of view of communications. We 
ought to have remained at Lagny or Ferri^res. But I know 
well why it was selected. All our princely personages would 
have found it too dull there. It is true they are bored here 
too, and doubtless everywhere else." 

The Chief then went on to talk of German Princes in gen- 
eral, and said : " Originally they were all Counts, that is to say, 
officials of the Empire. The Zehringers, it is true, are an old 
Princely family — apart from any fresh blood that has been 
infused into the stock. The Austrian Princes and Counts have 



only become rich and powerful through grants of confiscated 
estates. The Schwarzenbergs, for instance, through the prop- 
erty of a gentleman with a very unappetising name — Schmier- 
sicki." The Chancellor then went into further particulars, and 
continued : " They (the Hapsburgs) were grateful for services 
rendered to them, and rewarded their people with rich grants. 
It was different with us. Our nobles were squeezed. Any one 
who had large estates was forced to give them up or to make a 
bad exchange." 

The Chancellor afterwards spoke about Manteuffel, and 
said: "He is now heaping up coals of fire on my head by taking 
Bill with him. We were on bad terms during the last few years. 
One of the reasons was his extravagance in Schleswig. He kept 
a regular Court there, and gave great dinners of forty to fifty 
covers, spending three to four thousand thalers a month. That 
was all very well before the war, but later on, when I had to 
account for it to the Treasury Committee, it could not go on, 
and when I had to tell him so, he was angry." 

After dinner I wrote an article for the Moniteur, under 
instructions from the Chief, respecting the difficulty of pro- 
visioning Paris when it surrenders. It ran thus : " We find the 
following paragraph on the provisioning of Paris in t\i& Journal 
Officiel: 'According to a despatch from Bordeaux, dated Janu- 
ary 3rd, the Government of National Defence has collected a 
large quantity of necessaries in view of furnishing Paris with a 
fresh supply of provisions. In addition to the markets now in 
course of erection there is already collected, near the means 
of transport and beyond the range of the enemy's operation, a 
mass of supplies that only wait the first signal to be despatched.' 
When this question of reprovisioning Paris is considered from 
a practical point of view, it will be seen that it bristles with 
serious difficulties. If the statement of the Journal Officiel 
that the stores are beyond the range of the German sphere of 
action be correct, it must be taken that they are some 200 miles 
away from Paris. Now the condition to which the railways lead- 
ing to Paris have been reduced by the French themselves is such 
that it would require several weeks at least to transport such a 
quantity of provisions to Paris. There is another consideration 
which must also not be overlooked, namely, that in addition to 
the famishing population of Paris, the German army has a right 

348 COUNT ANDRASSY [Jan. 15 

to see that its supplies are replenished by the railways, and that 
consequently the German officials with the best will in the 
world can only spare a portion of the rolling stock to be em- 
ployed in reprovisioning Paris. It follows that if the Parisians 
put off the surrender of the city until they have eaten their last 
mouthful of bread, believing that large supplies are within easy 
reach, a fatal blunder may be committed. We trust that the 
Government of National Defence will very seriously consider 
the circumstances, and weigh well the heavy responsibility it 
incurs in adopting the principle of resistance to the bitter end. 
Every day increases instead of lessening the distance between 
the capital and the provincial armies, whose approach is 
awaited with so much impatience in Paris, which is closely 
invested and entirely cut off from the outer world. Paris can- 
not be rescued by fictitious reports. To suppose that it can 
wait till the last moment, for the simple reason that neither the 
provinces nor the enemy could allow a city of two and a half 
million inhabitants to starve, might prove to be a terrible mis- 
calculation, owing to the absolute impossibility of preventing it. 
The capitulation of Paris at the very last hour might — which 
God forbid! — be the commencement of a really great calamity." 

Sunday ^ January i^tA. — Rather bright, cold weather. The 
firing is less vigorous than during the last few days. The Chief 
slept badly last night, and had Wollmann called up at 4 a.m. in 
order to telegraph to London respecting Favre. In the morn- 
ing read despatches. Andrassy, the Hungarian Premier, de- 
clared to our Ambassador in Vienna that he not only approved 
of Beust's despatch of December 26th and shared the views 
therein expressed respecting the new Germany, but had desired 
and recommended such a policy all along. He had "always 
said we should reach out our hand to Germany and shake our 
fist at Russia." The reservation at the commencement of the 
document in question might have been omitted, as the reor- 
ganisation of Germany does not affect the Treaty of Prague. 

The letters in which the German Princes declare their ap- 
proval of the King of Bavaria's proposal for the restoration of 
the imperial dignity all express practically the same views. 
Only the elder line of the Reuss family was moved to base its 
consent upon different grounds. It regards the imperial title 
as "an ornamental badge of the dignity of the Federal Com- 


mander-in-Chief, and of the right of Presidency." The letter 
then continues, literally: "I do this" (that is, approve), "fully 
confident that the bestowal of this dignity upon his Majesty the 
King of Prussia will not affect the newly established relations 
of the Confederation." Oberregierungsrath Wagner drafted 
the answers to these letters of approval, as also the proclama- 
tion to the German people concerning the Emperor and the 
Empire, which is to be published shortly. I hear that he some- 
times draws up the speech from the throne, as he has a certain 
loftiness of style which the Chief likes. Read a letter from 
King William to the Chancellor written in his own hand. 
Contents: On the loth of January Prince Luitpold requested 
an audience of our Majesty. This was granted to him before 
dinner. The Prince then delivered a message from the King of 
Bavaria, suggesting that the Bavarian army should be relieved 
from taking the military oath of obedience to the Federal Com- 
mander-in-Chief, and that the stipulation to that effect should 
be struck out of the treaty with Bavaria. The Prince urged, as 
an argument in support of this proposal, that such a stipulation 
as that in question limited the sovereignty of the King of Ba- 
varia. No such obligation had been imposed upon the South 
German States during the present war, and the obedience and 
loyalty of the Bavarian army might be taken as a matter of 
course in the united Germany of the future. He also observed 
incidentally that the reason why the dissatisfaction in Bavaria 
was so great was because it had been hoped that the imperial 
dignity would be held alternately by Bavaria and Prussia. The 
King replied that he could not give an immediate answer to 
this unforeseen demand ; he must first look through the treaties. 
For the moment he could only say that by yielding in the matter 
of the military oath he would offend the other Princes, and that 
they might put forward a similar demand, which would loosen 
the ties that were to bind the new Germany together. That 
would necessarily damage the King of Bavaria's position in 
particular, as the concessions made to Bavaria were already 
regarded with great disfavour by public opinion. King William 
writes that he said nothing whatever about the alternation 
of the imperial dignity. The Chief telegraphed to Werther 
(Minister at Munich) that the proposal respecting the military 
oath could not be entertained. 


The Chief dined with the King to-day. Nothing worthy of 
note was said at our table. After dinner I again read drafts 
and despatches. Amongst the latter was a letter from King 
Lewis to the Chancellor, in which he thanks the Minister for 
his good wishes for the new year, and reciprocates them. He 
then claims an extension of territory on the ground of the im- 
portance of Bavaria and the gallant cooperation of her troops. 
From the construction of the sentence it is not quite clear 
whether this extension of territory is intended for Bavaria her- 
self, but very probably it is. 

Called to the Chief at 9 p.m. I am to write an article, based 
upon official documents, on our position towards American ships 
conveying contraband of war. In doing so I am to be guided 
by the 13th article of the Treaty of 1799. We cannot seize 
such vessels, but only detain them, or seize the contraband 
goods, for which a receipt must be given, and in both cases we 
must make fair compensation. 

Monday y January \6th. — Thawing. A dull sky, with a 
strong south-west wind. It is again impossible to see far, but 
no further shots are heard since yesterday afternoon. Has the 
bombardment stopped t Or does the wind prevent the sound 
from reaching us } 

In the morning I read Trochu's letter to Moltke, in which 
he complains that our projectiles have struck the hospitals in 
the south of Paris, although flags were hung out indicating 
their character. He is of opinion that this cannot have been 
by accident, and calls attention to the international treaties 
according to which such institutions are to be held inviolable. 
Moltke strongly resented the idea of its having been in any way 
intentional. The humane manner in which we have conducted 
the war, " so far as the character which was given to it by the 
French since the 4th of September permitted," secured us 
against any such suspicion. As soon as a clearer atmosphere 
and greater proximity to Paris enabled us to recognise the 
Geneva flag on the buildings in question, it might be possible to 
avoid even accidental injury. Treitschke writes requesting me 
to ask the Chief if, in view of his deafness, he should allow 
himself to be elected for the Reichstag. I lay the letter before 
the Minister, who says : " He must know from experience how 
far his infirmity is a hindrance. For my part, I should be ex- 


tremely pleased if he were elected. Write him to that effect. 
Only he should not speak too much." 

Prince Pless and Maltzahn dine with us. We learn that the 
proclamation to the German people is to be read the day after 
to-morrow, at the Festival of the Orders, which will be held in 
the Galerie des Glaces at the Palace. There, in the midst of 
a brilliant assembly, the King will be proclaimed Emperor. 
Detachments of troops with their flags, the generals, the Chan- 
cellor of the Confederation, and a number of princely person- 
ages will attend. The Chief has altered his mind as to letting 
Favre pass through our lines, and has written him a letter which 
amounts to a refusal. " Favre," he said, ** with his demand to 
be allowed to attend the Conference in London, reminds me of 
the way children play the game of Fox in the Hole. They 
' touch ' and then run off to a place where they cannot be 
caught. But he must swallow the potion he has brewed. His 
honour requires it, and so I wrote him." This change of view 
was due to Favre's circular of the 12th of January. Later on, 
the Chief said he believed he was going to have an attack of 
gout. Altogether he was not in good humour. While he was 
reckoning up the fortresses taken by us, Holstein addressed a 
remark to him. The Chief looked straight at him with his large 
grey eyes, and said in a dry cutting tone : " One should not be 
interrupted when engaged in counting. I have now lost count 
altogether. What you want to say might be said later." 

I here introduce a survey of this incident, with particulars of 
documents which afterwards came to my knowledge. 

Favre, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, was informed on the 
17th of November (in a despatch from Chaudordy, dated from 
Tours, on the i ith of the month), that it had been reported from 
Vienna, that the Russian Government no longer considered 
itself bound by the stipulations of the Treaty of 1856. Favre 
replied immediately. While recommending the strictest reserve, 
until the receipt of official information, he said that no oppor- 
tunity should be neglected of emphasising the right of France 
to take part in such international deliberations as the Russian 
declaration might provoke. Negotiations were then conducted, 
both verbally and in writing, between the various Powers and 
the French Provisional Government, in which the French en- 


deavoured to induce the representatives of those Powers to admit 
the justice of their contention, that the representatives of France 
" would be bound in duty to bring up at the same time for dis- 
cussion another matter of entirely different import." The Dele- 
gation at Tours, while giving expression to these views, was of 
opinion that any invitation given by Europe should be accepted, 
even should no promise be obtained beforehand, nor even an 
armistice. On the 31st of December, Gambetta wrote to 
Favre : " You must be prepared to leave Paris, to attend the 
London Conference, if, as is stated, England has succeeded in 
obtaining a passport." Before this communication arrived, 
Favre had announced to Chaudordy that the Government had 
decided that France, " if called upon in regular form " would 
send a representative to the London Conference, provided its 
Parisian representatives, who were verbally invited by England, 
were supplied with the necessary passport. To this the Eng- 
lish Cabinet agreed, and Chaudordy informed Favre in a de- 
spatch which arrived in Paris on the 8th of January, and also 
contained the announcement that he, Favre, had been appointed 
by the Government to represent France at the Conference. 
This communication was confirmed in a letter from Lord Gran- 
ville to Favre, dated the 29th of December, and received in 
Paris on the lOth of January, which ran as follows : — 

" M. de Chaudordy has informed Lord Lyons that your 
Excellency has been proposed as the representative of France 
at the Conference. He has at the same time requested that I 
should procure a passport permitting your Excellency to go 
through the Prussian lines. I immediately requested Count 
Bernstorff to ask for such a passport, and to send it to you by a 
German officer with a flag of truce. I was informed yesterday 
by Count Bernstorff that a passport will be at your Excel- 
lency's disposal on its being demanded at the German head- 
quarters by an officer despatched from Paris for the purpose. 
He added that it cannot be delivered by a German officer, so 
long as satisfaction is not given to the officer who was fired at 
while acting as the bearer of a flag of truce. I am informed 
by M. Tissot that much time would be lost before this commu- 
nication could be forwarded to you by the delegation at Bor- 
deaux, and I have accordingly proposed to Count Bernstorff 
another way in which it may be transmitted to you. Request- 



ing your Excellency to permit me to take this opportunity of 
expressing my satisfaction at entering into personal communica- 
tion with you,!' &c. 

Favre regarded the last sentence in this letter as a recogni- 
tion of the present French Government, and an invitation that 
he might take advantage of to address the Powers in London 
on French affairs. In the circular of the 12th of January which 
he addressed to the French Ministers, he says: — 

" The Government, directly invited in this despatch, cannot, 
without surrendering the rights of France, refuse the invitation 
thus conveyed to her. It may certainly be objected that the 
time for a discussion concerning the neutralisation of the Black 
Sea has not been happily chosen. But the very fact that the 
European Powers should thus have entered into relations with 
the French Republic at the present decisive moment when 
France is fighting single-handed for her honour and existence, 
lends it an exceptional significance. It is the commencement 
of a tardy exercise of justice, an obligation which cannot again 
be renounced. It endues the change of Government with the 
authority of international law, and leaves a nation which is free 
notwithstanding its wounds to appear in an independent posi- 
tion upon the stage of the world's history, face to face with the 
ruler who led it to its ruin, and the Pretenders who desire to 
reduce it into subjection to themselves. Furthermore, who does 
not feel that France, admitted to a place amongst the repre- 
sentatives of Europe, has an unquestionable right to raise her 
voice in that council .•* Who can prevent her, supported by 
the eternal laws of justice, from defending the principles that 
secure her independence and dignity ? She will surrender none 
of those principles. Our programme remains unaltered, and 
Europe, who has invited the man who promulgated that pro- 
gramme, knows very well that it is his determination and duty 
to maintain it. There should, therefore, be no hesitation, and 
the Government would have committed a grave error if it had 
declined the overtures made to it. 

" While recognising that fact, however, the Government 
consider, as I do, that the Minister for Foreign Affairs should 
not leave Paris during the bombardment of the city by the 
enemy, unless greater interests were at stake." (Then follows 
a long sentimental lamentation as to the damage caused by the 

VOL. I. — 2 A 


" rage of the aggressor " in throwing bombs into churches, 
hospitals, nurseries, &c., with the intention of " spreading 
terror." The document then proceeds :) " Our brave Parisian 
population feels its courage rise as the danger increases. Thus 
exasperated and indignant, but animated by a firm resolve, it 
will not yield. The people are more determined than ever to 
fight and conquer, and we also. / cannot think of separating 
myself from them during this crisis. Perhaps it will soon be 
brought to a close by the protests addressed to Europe and to 
the members of the Corps Diplomatique present in Paris. 
England will understand that until then my place is in the midst 
of my fellow -citizens. ' ' 

Favre made the same declaration, or rather the first half of 
it, two days before in the reply sent to Granville's despatch, in 
which he says : " I cannot assume the right to leave my fellow- 
citizens at a moment when they are subjected to such acts of 
violence " (against "an unarmed population," as — in the line 
immediately preceding — he describes a strong fortress with a 
garrison of about 200,000 soldiers and militia). He then con- 
tinues : " Communications between Paris and London, thanks 
to those in command of the besieging forces " (what nai'vete !) 
" are so slow and uncertain that with the best will I cannot act 
in accordance with the terms of the invitation contained in your 
despatch. You have given me to understand that the Con- 
ference will meet on the 3rd of February, and will then probably 
adjourn for a week. Having received this information on the 
evening of the loth of January, I should not be able to avail 
myself in time of your invitation. Besides, M. de Bismarck, in 
forwarding the despatch, did not enclose the passport, which, 
nevertheless, is absolutely essential. He demands that a French 
officer shall proceed to the German headquarters to receive it, 
on the plea of a complaint addressed to the Governor of Paris, 
with regard to the treatment of the bearer of a flag of truce, an 
incident which occurred on the 23rd of December. M. de 
Bismarck adds that the Prussian Commander-in-Chief has for- 
bidden all communication under flags of truce until satisfaction 
is given for the incident in question. I do not inquire whether 
such a decision, contrary to the laws of war, is not an absolute 
denial of a higher right, always hitherto maintained in the con- 
duct of hostilities, which recognises the exigencies of a situation 


and the claims of humane feeling. I confine myself to inform- 
ing your Excellency that the Governor of Paris hastened to 
order an inquiry into the incident referred to by M. de Bismarck, 
and that this inquiry brought to his knowledge much more 
numerous instances of similar conduct on the part of Prussian 
sentries which had never been made a pretext for interrupting the 
usual exchange of communications. M. de Bismarck appears 
to have acknowledged the accuracy of these remarks, at least 
in part, as he has to-day commissioned the United States 
Minister to inform me that, with the reservation of inquiries 
on both sides, he to-day reestablishes communications under 
flags of truce. There is, therefore, no necessity for a French 
officer to go to the Prussian headquarters. I will put myself 
in communication with the Minister of the United States for 
the purpose of receiving the passport which you have obtained 
for me. As soon as it reaches my hands, and the situatmt in 
Paris permits me, I shall proceed to London, confident that I 
shall not appeal in vain in the name of my Government to the 
principles of justice and morality, in securing due regard for 
which Europe has such a great interest." 

So far M. Favre. The condition of Paris had not altered, 
the protests addressed to Europe had not put an end to the 
crisis, nor could they have done so, when Favre, on January 
13th, that is, three days after the letter to Granville, and en 
the day of the issue of his circular to the representatives of 
France abroad, sent the following despatch to the Chancellor 
of the Confederation : — 

" M. le Comte, — Lord Granville informs me in his despatch 
of December 29th, which I received on the evening of January 
loth, that your Excellency, at the request of the English Cabi- 
net, holds a passport at my disposal which is necessary to enable 
the French Plenipotentiary to the London Conference to pass 
through the Prussian lines. As I have been appointed to that 
office, I have the honour to request your Excellency to give 
instructions to have this passport, made out in my name, sent to 
me as speedily as possible." 

I reproduce all these solely with the object of illustrating 
the great difference between the character and capacity of 
Favre and of Bismarck. Compare the foregoing documents 
with those which the Chancellor drafted. In the former, in- 


decision, equivocation, affectation, and fine phrases, ending in 
the very opposite of what had been emphatically laid down a 
few lines or a few days previously. In the latter, on the con- 
trary, decision, simplicity, and a natural and purely business- 
like manner. On January i6th the Chancellor replied to Favre 
as follows (omitting the introductory phrases) : — 

" Your Excellency understands that, at the suggestion of the 
Government of Great Britain, I hold a passport at your disposal 
for the purpose of enabling you to take part in the London 
Conference. That supposition is, however, not correct. I could 
not enter into official negotiations, which would be based on the 
presupposition that the Government of National Defence is, 
according to international law, in a position to act in the name 
of France, so long at least as it has not been recognised by the 
French nation itself. 

" I presume that the officer in command of our outposts 
would have granted your Excellency permission to pass through 
the German lines if your Excellency had applied for the same 
at the headquarters of the besieging forces. The latter would 
have had no reason to take your Excellency's political position 
and the object of your journey into consideration, and the au- 
thorisation granted by the military authorities to pass through 
our lines, which, from their standpoint, they need not have 
hesitated to grant, would have left the Ambassador of his 
Majesty the King in London a free hand to 'deal without 
prejudice with the question whether, according to international 
law, your Excellency's declarations could be accepted as the 
declarations of France. Your Excellency has rendered the 
adoption of such a course impossible by officially communi- 
cating to me the object of your journey, and the official request 
for a passport for the purpose of representing France at the 
Conference. The above-mentioned political considerations, in 
support of which I must adduce the declaration which your 
Excellency has published, forbid me to accede to your request 
for such a document. 

" In addressing this communication to you, I must leave it to 
yourself and your Government to consider whether it is possible 
to find another way in which the scruples above mentioned may 
be overcome, and all prejudice arising from your presence in 
London may be avoided. 

1 87 1] A SHARP REPROOF 357 

** But even if some such way should be discovered, I take 
the liberty to question whether it is advisable for your Excel- 
lency at the present moment to leave Paris and your post as a 
member of the Government there, in order to take part in a 
Conference on the question of the Black Sea, at a time when 
interests of much greater importance to France and Germany 
than Article XL of the Treaty of 1856 are at stake in Paris. 
Your Excellency would also leave behind you in Paris the 
agents of neutral States and the members of their staffs who 
have remained there, or rather been kept there, notwithstand- 
ing the fact that they have long since obtained permission to 
pass through the German lines, and are therefore the more spe- 
cially committed to the protection and care of your Excellency 
as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the de facto Govern- 

I can hardly believe that in a critical situation, to the crea- 
tion of which yoiL have so largely contributed^ your Excellency 
will deprive yourself of the possibility of cooperating towards 
that solution, for which you are equally responsible." 

I now let the diary resume its narrative. 

Tuesday, Jamiary \yth. — We were joined at dinner by the 
Saxon Count Nostiz-Wallwitz, who, it is understood, is to take 
up an administrative appointment here, and a Herr Winter, or 
von Winter, who is to be Prefect at Chartres. On some one 
referring to the future military operations, the Chief observed : 
" I think that when, with God's help, we have taken Paris, we 
shall not occupy it with our troops. That work may be left to 
the National Guard in the city. Also a French commandant. 
We shall occupy merely the forts and walls. Everybody will 
be permitted to enter, but nobody to leave. It will, therefore, 
be a great prison until they consent to make peace." 

The Minister then spoke to Nostiz about the French Con- 
seils G^n^raux, and said we should try to come to an under- 
standing with them. They would form a good field here for 
further political operations. "So far as the military side of 
the affair is concerned," he continued, " I am in favour of 
greater concentration. We should not go beyond a certain line, 
but deal with that portion thoroughly, making the administra- 


tion effectual, and in particular collect the taxes. The military 
authorities are always for advancing. They have a centrifugal 
plan of operations and I a centripetal. It is a question whether 
we ought to hold Orleans, and even whether it would not be 
better to retire also from Rouen and Amiens. In the south- 
east — I do not know — they want to go as far as Dijon. And 
if we cannot supply garrisons for every place within our sphere 
of occupation, we should from time to time send a flying col- 
umn wherever they show themselves recalcitrant, and shoot, 
hang, and burn. When that has been done a couple of times 
they will learn sense." Winter was of opinion that the mere 
appearance of a detachment of troops entrusted with the task 
of restoring order would be sufficient in such districts. The 
Chief : " I am not so sure. A little hanging would certainly 
have a better effect, and a few shells thrown in and a couple 
of houses burned down. That reminds me of the Bavarian who 
said to a Prussian officer of artillery : * What do you think, 
comrade, shall we set that little village on fire, or only 
knock it about a little ? ' but they decided after all to set it on 

I do not now remember how it was that the Chief came to 
speak again of his letter he wrote yesterday to Favre. " I have 
given him clearly to understand that it would not do, and that 
I could not believe that he who had taken part in the affair of 
the 4th of September would fail to await the issue. I wrote 
the letter in French, first because I do not regard the corre- 
spondence as official but rather as private, and then in order 
that every one may be able to read it in the French lines until 
it reaches him." Nostiz asked how diplomatic correspondence 
in general was now conducted. The Chief : " In German. 
Formerly it was in French. But I have introduced German 
— only, however, with Cabinets whose language is understood 
in our own Foreign Office. England, Italy, and also Spain — 
even Spanish can be read in case of need. Not with Russia, 
as I am the only one in the Foreign Office who understands 
Russian. Also not with Holland, Denmark, and Sweden — 
people do not learn those languages as a rule. They write in 
French and we reply in the same language." " At Ferrieres 
I spoke to Thiers " (he meant Favre) " in French. But I told 
him that was only because I was not treating with him offi- 


cially. He laughed, whereupon I said to him : * You will see 
that we shall talk plain German to you in the negotiations for 
peace.' " 

At tea we hear from Holstein that the bombardment on 
the south side has been stopped, Blumenthal, who was always 
against it, having got his way. It is hoped, however, that the 
Crown Prince of Saxony will proceed vigorously with the bom- 
bardment on the north side. One would like to tell this to our 
own Crown Prince, and to ask him what would be said when 
it was known that the Saxons had forced Paris to capitulate. 
"Unless you are quite certain of that," said Wagener, "and 
have it on absolutely trustworthy authority, do not let the Chief 
hear of it. I should not like to guarantee that in that case he 
would not be off to-morrow. He is a volcano whose action is 
incalculable, and he does not stand jokes in such matters." 
Holstein, however, appears to have been misinformed. At 
least Count Donhoff, who came in afterwards, declared that 
our siege guns in the south were also at work, but that owing 
to the south-west wind we did not hear the firing, and, more- 
over, it was not so heavy as during the preceding days. Fire 
would probably be opened to-morrow from St. Denis upon the 
city, a pleasant surprise for the inhabitants of the northern 

Wednesday y January iSf/t. — In the morning read despatches 
and newspapers. Wollmann tells me that an order has been 
issued promoting our Chief to the rank of Lieutenant-General. 
When Wollmann took the order up to him and congratulated 
him, the Chancellor threw it angrily on the bed and said : 
"What is the good of that to me.?" {"Wat ik mick davor 
koofe? " — Low German dialect.) Doubtless imagination, but it 
appears to be correct that the Minister is to-day in very bad 
humour and exceptionally irritable. 

The festival of the Orders and the Proclamation of the 
German Empire and Emperor took place in the great hall of 
the Palace between 12 and 1.30 p.m. It was held with much 
military pomp and ceremony, and is said to have been a very 
magnificent and imposing spectacle. In the meantime I took 
a long walk with Wollmann. 

The Chief did not dine with us, as he was bidden to the 
Emperor's table. On his return I was called to him twice to 


receive instructions. His voice was an unusually weak voice, 
and he looked very tired and worn out. 

The Chief has received a communication from a number of 
diplomats who have remained behind in Paris. Kern, the Swiss 
Minister, who is their spokesman, requests the Chancellor to 
use his influence in order to obtain permission for the persons 
committed to their protection to leave the city. At the same 
time our right to bombard Paris is questioned, and it is insinu- 
ated that we intentionally fire at buildings that ought to be 
respected. The reply is to point out that we have already re- 
peatedly, through their diplomatic representatives, called the 
attention of the citizens of neutral states living in Paris to the 
consequences of the city's prolonged resistance. This was 
done as early as the end of September, and again several times 
in October. Furthermore, we have for months past allowed 
every citizen of a neutral state, who was able to give evidence 
of his nationality, to pass through our lines without any diffi- 
culty. At the present time, for military reasons, we can only 
extend that permission to members of the Corps Diplomatique. 
It is not our fault if subjects of neutral states have not hitherto 
availed themselves of the permission to seek a place of safety 
for their persons and their property. Either they have not 
wished to leave, or they have not been allowed to do so by 
those who at present hold power in Paris. We are fully justi- 
fied by international law in bombarding Paris, as it is a fortress, 
the principal fortress of France — an entrenched camp which 
serves the enemy as a base of offensive and defensive action 
against our armies. Our generals cannot, therefore, be expected 
to refrain from attacking it, or to handle it with velvet gloves. 
Furthermore, the object of the bombardment is not to destroy 
the city, but to capture the fortress. If our fire renders resi- 
dence in Paris uncomfortable and dangerous, those who recog- 
nise that fact ought not to have gone to live in a fortified town, 
or should not have remained there. They may, therefore, ad- 
dress their complaints not to us, but to those who transformed 
Paris into a fortress, and who now use its fortifications as an 
instrument of war against us. Finally, our artillery does not 
intentionally fire at private houses and benevolent institutions, 
such as hospitals, &c. That should be understood as a matter 
of course from the care with which we have observed the pro- 


1871] "EVIL-MINDED SHELLS!" 361 

visions of the Geneva Convention. Such accidents as do occur 
are due to the great distance at which we are firing. It cannot, 
however, be tolerated that Paris, which has been and still is the 
chief centre of military resistance, should bring forward these 
cases as an argument for forbidding the vigorous bombardment 
which is intended to render the city untenable. Wrote articles 
to the above effect. 

Thursday, January igth. — Dull weather. The post has 
not been delivered, and it is ascertained on inquiry that the 
railway line has been destroyed at a place called Vitry la Ville, 
near Chalons. From 10 a.m. we hear a rather vigorous can- 
nonade, in which field guns ultimately join. I write two 
articles on the sentimental report of the Journal des D^bats, 
according to which our shells strike only ambulances, mothers 
with their daughters, and babies in swaddling clothes. What 
evil-minded shells! 

Keudell tells us at lunch that to-day's cannonade was 
directed against a great sortie with twenty-four battalions and 
numerous guns in the direction of La Celle and Saint Cloud. 
In my room after lunch Wollmann treats me to a number of 
anecdotes of doubtful authenticity. According to him the 
Chief yesterday remarked to the King, when his Majesty 
changed the Minister's title to that of Chancellor of the 
Empire, that this new title brought him into bad company. 
To which the King replied that the bad company would be 
transformed into good company on his joining it. (From whom 
can Wollmann have heard that .'') My gossip also informs me 
that the King made a slip of the tongue yesterday at the 
palace, when in announcing his assumption of the title of 
Emperor he added the words "by the Grace of God." This 
requires to be confirmed by some more trustworthy authority. 
Another story of Wollmann's seems more probable, namely, 
that the Minister sends in a written request to the King, almost 
every day, to be supplied with the reports of the General Staff 
respecting the English coal ships sunk by our people near 
Rouen. He used in the same way to telegraph day after day to 
Eulenburg, who has always been very dilatory : " What about Vil- 
liers .? " And before that in Berlin he had a request addressed to 
Eulenburg at least once every week : Would he kindly have the 
draft of the district regulations sent forward as early as possible } 


Towards 2 o'clock, when the rattle of the mitrailleuse could 
be clearly distinguished, and the French artillery was at the 
outside only half a German mile in a straight line from Ver- 
sailles, the Chief rode out to the aqueduct at Marly, whither the 
King and the Crown Prince were understood to have gone. 

The affair must have caused some anxiety at Versailles in 
the meantime, as we see that the Bavarian troops have been 
called out. They are posted in large masses in the Place 
d'Armes and the Avenue de Paris. The French are camped, 
sixty thousand strong it is said, beneath Mont Valerien and in 
the fields to the east of it. They are understood to have capt- 
ured the Montretout redoubt, and the village of Garches to the 
west of Saint Cloud, which is not much more than three-quarters 
of an hour from here, is also in their hands. They may, it is 
feared, advance further to-morrow and oblige us to withdraw 
from Versailles, but this seems to be at least an exaggeration. 
At dinner there is scarcely any talk of immediate danger. 
Geheimrath von Loper, who is understood to be Under Secre- 
tary in the Ministry of the Royal Household, dines with us. 
We hear that there is no longer any danger for our communica- 
tions in the south-east, as Bourbaki, after pressing Werder very 
hard for three days without, however, being able to defeat him, 
has given up the attempt to relieve Belfort and is now in full 
retreat, probably owing to the approach of Manteuffel. The 
Chief then refers to a report that the taxes cannot be collected 
in various districts of the occupied territory. He says it is diffi- 
cult, indeed impossible, to garrison every place where the popu- 
lation must be made to pay the taxes. "Nor," he adds, "is it 
necessary to do so. Flying columns of infantry accompanied 
by a couple of guns are all that is needed. Without even enter- 
ing into the places, the people should be simply told, ' If you 
do not produce the taxes in arrear within two hours, we shall 
pitch some shells in amongst you.' If they see that we are in 
earnest, they will pay. If not, the place should be bombarded, 
and that would help in other cases. They must learn what war 

The conversation afterwards turned on the grants that were 
to be expected after the conclusion of peace, and alluding to 
those made in 1866, the Chief said, inter alia: "They should 
not be grants of money. I at least was reluctant for a long 



time to accept one, but at length I yielded to the temptation. 
Besides, it was worse still in my case, as I received it not from 
the King but from the Diet. I did not want to take any money 
from people with whom I had fought so bitterly for years. 

" Moreover, the King was to some extent in my debt, as I 
had sent him forty pounds of fine fresh caviare — a present for 
which he made me no return. It is true that perhaps he never 
received it. Probably that fat rascal Borck intercepted it." 
"These rewards ought to have taken the form of grants of 
land, as in 1815; and there was a good opportunity of doing 
so, particularly in the corner of Bavaria which we acquired, 
and which consisted almost entirely of State property." 

While we were alone at tea, Bucher told me that " before the 
war he had a good deal to do with the Spanish affair." (This 
was not exactly news to me, as I remembered that long before 
that he suddenly ordered the Impairial, and commissioned 
various articles directed against Montpensier.) He had nego- 
tiated in the matter with the Hohenzollerns, father and son, and 
had also spoken to the King on the affair in an audience of 
one hour's duration which he had had with him at Ems. 

Friday, January 20th. — I am called to the Chief at 12 
o'clock. He wishes to have his reply to Kern's communication, 
and the letter in which he declined to supply Favre with a pass- 
port, published in the Moniteur. 

Bohlen again came to dinner, at which we were also joined 
by Lauer and von Knobelsdorff. The Chief was very cheerful 
and talkative. He related, amongst other things, that while he 
was at Frankfort he frequently received and accepted invita- 
tions from the Grand Ducal Court at Darmstadt. They had 
excellent shooting there. " But," he added, " I have reason to 
believe that the Grand Duchess Mathilde did not like me. She 
said to some one at that time: * He always stands there and 
looks as important as if he were the Grand Duke himself.' " 

While we were smoking our cigars, the Crown Prince's aide- 
de-camp suddenly appeared, and reported that Count (I 

could not catch the name) had come, ostensibly on behalf of, 
and under instructions from, Trochu, to ask for a two days' 
armistice in order to remove the wounded and bury those who 
fell in yesterday's engagement. The Chief replied that the 
request should be refused. A few hours would be sufficient 


for the removal of the wounded and the burial of the dead; 
and, besides, the latter were just as well off lying on the ground 
as they would be under it. The Major returned shortly after- 
wards and announced that the King would come here; and, 
hardly a quarter of an hour later, his Majesty arrived with 
the Crown Prince. They went with the Chancellor into the 
drawing-room, where a negative answer was prepared for Tro- 
chu's messenger. 

About 9 P.M. Bucher sent me up a couple of lines in pencil 
to the effect that the letter to Kern should be published in 
the Moniteur to-morrow, but that the communication to Favre 
should be held over for the present. 

Saturday, January 21st. — At 9. 30 A.M. the Moniteur is 
delivered, and contains the Chief's letter to Favre. Very dis- 
agreeable; but I suppose my letter to Bamberg only arrived 
after the paper was printed. At 10 o'clock I am called to the 
Minister, who says nothing about this mishap, although he has 
the newspaper before him. He is still in bed, and wishes the 
protest of the Comte de Chambord against the bombardment 
cut out for the King. I then write an article for the Kdlnische 
Zeitung, and a paragraph for the local journal. 

Voigts-Rhetz, Prince Putbus, and the Bavarian Count Berg- 
hem were the Chancellor's guests at dinner. The Bavarian 
brought the pleasant news that the Versailles treaties were 
carried in the second chamber at Munich by two votes over 
the necessary two-thirds majority. The German Empire was, 
therefore, complete in every respect. Thereupon the Chief 
invited the company to drink the health of the King of Bavaria, 
"who, after all, has really helped us through to a successful 
conclusion." "I always thought that it would be carried," he 
added, **if only by one vote — but I had not hoped for two. 
The last good news from the seat of war will doubtless have 
contributed to the result." 

It was then mentioned that in the engagement the day 
before yesterday the French brought a much larger force 
against us than was thought at first, probably over 80,000 
men. The Montretout redoubt was actually in their hands 
for some hours, and also a portion of Garches and Saint Cloud. 
The French had lost enormously in storming the position — it 
was said 1,200 dead and 4,000 wounded. The Chancellor ob- 


served : " The capitulation must follow soon. I imagine it may 
be even next week. After the capitulation we shall supply 
them with provisions as a matter of course. But before they 
deliver up 700,000 rifles and 4,000 guns they shall not get a 
single mouthful of bread — and then no one shall be allowed to 
leave. We shall occupy the forts and the walls and keep them 
on short commons until they accommodate themselves to a 
peace satisfactory to us. After all there are still many per- 
sons of intelligence and consideration in Paris with whom it 
must be possible to come to some arrangement." 

Then followed a learned discussion on the difference be- 
tween the titles " German Emperor " and " Emperor of Ger- 
many"; and that of "Emperor of the Germans" was also 
mooted. After this had gone on for a while the Chief, who 
had taken no part in it, asked : ** Does any one know the Latin 
word for sausage (Wurscht).?" Abeken answered " Farcimen- 
tum," and I said " Farcimen." The Chief, smiling : ** Farci- 
mentum or farcimen, it is all the same to me. Nescio quid mihi 
magis farcimentum esset'' {'' Es ist mir Wurst'' is student's 
slang, and means, " It is a matter of the utmost indifference to 

Sunday y January 22nd. — In the forenoon I wrote two para- 
graphs for the German newspapers, and one for the Moniteur, in 
connection with which I was twice called to see the Chief. 

Von Konneritz, a Saxon, General von Stosch, and Loper 
joined us at dinner. There was nothing worth noting in the 
conversation except that the Minister again insisted that it 
would be only fair to invest the wounded with the Iron Cross. 
" The Coburger," he went on, " said to me the other day, * It 
would really be a satisfaction if the soldiers also got the Cross 
now.' I replied, 'Yes, but it is less satisfactory that we two 
should have received it' " 

Mo7iday, January 23^^. — I telegraph that the bombardment 
on the north side has made good progress, that the fort at Saint 
Denis has been silenced, and that an outbreak of fire has been 
observed in Saint Denis itself as well as in Paris. All our bat- 
teries are firing vigorously, although one cannot hear them. So 
we are told by Lieutenant von Uslar, of the Hussars, who 
brings a letter to the Chief from Favre. What can he want.** 

Shortly after 7 p.m. Favre arrived, and the Chancellor had 

366 FAVRE ARRIVES [Jan. 24 

an interview with him, which lasted about two and a half hours. 
In the meantime Hatzfeld and Bismarck-Bohlen conversed down- 
stairs in the drawing-room with the gentleman who accompanied 
Favre, and who is understood to be his son-in-law, del Rio. He 
is a portrait painter by profession, but came with his father-in- 
law in the capacity of secretary. Both were treated to a hastily 
improvised meal, consisting of cutlets, scrambled eggs, ham, 
&c., which will doubtless have been welcome to these poor mar- 
tyrs to their own obstinacy. Shortly after 10 o'clock they drove 
off, accompanied by Hatzfeld, to the lodgings assigned to them 
in a house on the Boulevard du Roi, where Stieber and the mili- 
tary police also happen to have their quarters. Hatzfeld accom- 
panied the gentlemen there. Favre looked very depressed. 

The Chief drove off to see the King at 10.30 p.m., returning 
in about three-quarters of an hour. He looks exceedingly 
pleased as he enters the room where we are sitting at tea. He 
first asks me to pour him out a cup of tea, and he eats a few 
mouthfuls of bread with it. After a while he says to his cousin, 
" Do you know this ? " and then whistled a short tune, the signal 
of the hunter that he has brought down the deer. Bohlen re- 
plies, " Yes, in at the death." The Chief : " No, this way," and 
he whistled again. " A hallali,'' he adds. " I think the thing 
is finished." Bohlen remarked that Favre looked "awfully 
shabby." The Chief said : " I find he has grown much greyer 
than when I saw him at Ferrieres — also stouter, probably on 
horseflesh. Otherwise he looks like one who has been through 
a great deal of trouble and excitement lately, and to whom 
everything is now indifferent. Moreover, he was very frank, 
and confessed that things are not going on well in Paris. I also 
ascertained from him that Trochu has been superseded. Vinoy 
is now in command of the city." Bohlen then related that Mar- 
tinez del Rio was exceedingly reserved. They, for their part, 
had not tried to pump him ; but they once inquired how things 
were going on at the Villa Rothschild in the Bois de Boulogne, 
where Thiers said the General Staff of the Paris army was 
quartered. Del Rio answered curtly that he did not know. For 
the rest, they had talked solely about high-class restaurants in 
Paris, which, they acknowledged, was an unmannerly thing to 
do. Hatzfeld on his return, after conducting the two Parisians 
to their lodgings, reported that Favre was glad to have arrived 


after dark, and that he does not wish to go out in the daytime 
in order not to create a sensation, and to avoid being pestered 
by the Versailles people. 

Tuesday, January 24th. — The Chief gets up before 9 o'clock 
and works with Abeken. Shortly before 10 he drives off to 
see the King, or, let us now say, the Emperor. It is nearly i 
o'clock when he returns. We are still at lunch, and he sits 
down and takes some roast ham and a glass of Tivoli beer. 
After a while he heaves a sigh and says : ** Until now I always 
thought that Parliamentary negotiations were the slowest of all, 
but I no longer think so. There was at least one way of escape 
there — to move 'that the question should be now put* But 
here everybody says whatever occurs to him, and when one im- 
agines the matter is finally settled, somebody brings forward an 
argument that has already been disposed of, and so the whole 
thing has to be gone over again, which is quite hopeless. That 
is stewing thought to rags — mere flatulence which people ought 
really to be able to restrain. Well, it's all the same to me ! I 
even prefer that nothing should have been yet decided or shall 
be decided till to-morrow. It is merely the waste of time in 
having to listen to them, but of course such people do not think 
of that." The Chief then said that he expected Favre to call 
upon him again, and that he had advised him to leave at 3 
o'clock (Favre wishes to return to Paris) " on account of the 
soldiers who would challenge him after dark, and to whom he 
could not reply." 

Favre arrived at 1.30 p.m. and spent nearly two hours in 
negotiation with the Chancellor. He afterwards drove off 
towards Paris, being accompanied by Bismarck-Bohlen as far 
as the bridge at Sevres. 

These negotiations were not mentioned at dinner. It would 
appear, however, to be a matter of course that the preliminaries 
of the capitulation were discussed. The Chief spoke at first of 
Bernstorff, and said : " Anyhow, that is a thing I have never 
yet been able to manage — to fill page after page of foolscap 
with the most insignificant twaddle. A pile so high has come 
in again to-day " — he pointed with his hand — " and then the 
back references: *As I had the honour to report in my de- 
spatch of January 3rd, 1863, No. So-and-so; as I announced 
most obediently in my telegram No. 1666.' I send them to the 


King, and he wants to know what Bernstorff means, and always 
writes in pencil on the margin, * Don't understand this. This 
is awful ! ' " Somebody observed that it was only Goltz who 
wrote as much as Bernstorff. "Yes," said the Chief, "and in 
addition he often sent me private letters that filled six to eight 
closely written sheets. He must have had a terrible amount of 
spare time. Fortunately I fell out with him, and then that 
blessing ceased." One of the company wondered what Goltz 
would say if he now heard that the Emperor was a prisoner, 
and the Empress in London, while Paris was being besieged 
and bombarded by us. " Well," replied the Chief, " he was not 
so desperately attached to the Emperor — but the Empress in 
London ! Nevertheless, in spite of his devotion to her, he 
would not have given himself away as Werther did." 

The death of a Belgian Princess having been mentioned, 
Abeken, as in duty bound, expressed his grief at the event. 
The Chief said : " How can that affect you so much .? To my 
knowledge, there is no Belgian here at table, nor even a cousin." 

The Minister then related that Favre complained of our 
firing at the sick and blind — that is to say, the blind asylum. 
" I said to him, ' I really do not see what you have to complain 
about. You yourselves do much worse, seeing that you shoot 
at our sound and healthy men.' He will have thought. What 
a barbarian ! " Hohenlohe's name was then mentioned, and 
it was said that much of the success of the bombardment was 
due to him. The Chief : " I shall propose for him the title of 
Poliorketes." The conversation then turned on the statues and 
paintings of the Restoration, and their artificiality and bad taste. 
"I remember," said the Chief, "that Schuckmann, the Minister, 
was painted by his wife, en coquille I think it was called at that 
time, that is, in a rose-coloured shell, and wearing a kind of 
antique costume. He was naked down to the waist — I had 
never seen him like that." " That is one of my earliest remem- 
brances. They often gave what used to be called assemblies^ 
and are now known as routs — a ball without supper. My 
parents usually went there." Thereupon the Chief once more 
described his mother's costume, and then continued: "There 
was afterwards a Russian Minister in Berlin, Ribeaupierre, who 
also gave balls, where people danced till 2 o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and there was nothing to eat. I know that, because I and 


a couple of good friends were often there. At length we got 
tired of it, and played them a trick. When it got late, we pulled 
out some bread and butter from our pockets, and after we had 
finished, we pitched the paper on the drawing-room floor. 
Refreshments were provided next time, but we were not in- 
vited any more." 

VOL. I. — 2 B 




Wednesday, January 2^th. — Count Lehndorff dined with 
us, and talked about hunting and hunting dinners, including a 
great banquet given by some Baron which consisted of no less 
than twenty-four courses. His brother was present and fell 
asleep propped on his elbows, while a neighbour of his sank 
into slumber on the shoulder of a governess who was sitting 
next him. The dinner lasted over five hours and the people 
were most horribly bored, as often happens in the country. The 
Chief remarked : " I always know how to get over that diffi- 
culty. • One must put down a good bit of liquor right at the 
beginning, and under its influence one's neighbours to the left 
and right grow ever so much cleverer and pleasanter." 

The Minister then spoke about his first journey to St. Peters- 
burg. He drove in a carriage, as at first there was no snow. 
It fell very heavily later on, however, and progress was terribly 
slow. It took him five full days and six nights to reach the 
first railway station, and he spent the whole time cramped up 
in a narrow carriage without sleep and with the thermometer at 
fifteen degrees Reaumur below zero. In the train, however, he 
fell so fast asleep that on their arrival in St. Petersburg, after a 
ten hours' run, he felt as if he had been only five minutes in the 
railway carriage. 

" The old times before the railways were completed had also 
their good side," continued the Minister. "There was not so 
much to do. The mail only came in twice a week, and then 
one worked as if for a wager. But when the mail was over we 
got on horseback, and had a good time of it until its next 
arrival." Somebody observed that the increased work, both 
abroad and at the Foreign Office, was due more to the telegraph 
than to the railways. This led the Chief to talk about diplo- 



matic reports in general, many of which, while written in a 
pleasant style, were quite empty. " They are like feuilletons, 
written merely because something has to be written. That was 
the case, for instance, with the reports of Bamberg, our Consul 
in Paris. One read them through always thinking : Now 
something is coming. But nothing ever came. They sounded 
very well and one read on and on. But there was really noth- 
ing in them. All barren and empty." Another instance was 
then mentioned, Bernhardi, our Military Plenipotentiary at 
Florence, of whom the Chief said : ** He passes for being a good 
writer on military subjects because of his work on Toll. We 
do not know, however, how much of that he himself wrote. 
Thereupon he was given the rank of major, although it is not 
certain that he ever was an officer at all, and he was appointed 
Military Plenipotentiary in Italy. Great things were expected 
of him there, and in the matter of quantity he did a great deal 
— also in the matter of style. He writes in an agreeable way, 
as if for a feuilleton, but when I have got to the end of his 
closely written reports in a small neat hand, for all their length 
I have found nothing in them." . . . 

The Minister then returned to the subject of tiresome jour- 
neys and long rides. He said : ** I remember after the battle of 
Sadowa I was the whole day in the saddle on a big horse. At 
first I did not want to ride him, as he was too high and it was 
too much trouble to mount. At last, however, I did so, and I 
was not sorry for it. It was an excellent animal! But the 
long waiting above the valley had exhausted me and my seat 
and legs were very sore. The skin was not broken, — that has 
never happened to me, — but afterwards when I sat down on a 
wooden bench I had a feeling as if I were sitting on something 
that came between me and the wood. It was only a blister. 
After Sadowa we arrived late at night in the market-place of 
Horsitz. There we were told that we were to seek out our own 
quarters. That, however, was much easier said than done. 
The houses were bolted and barred, and the sappers, who 
might have broken in the doors for us, were not to arrive before 
five in the morning." " His Excellency knew how to help him- 
self in a similar case at Gravelotte," interrupted Delbriick. 
The Chief continued his story : " Well, I went to several houses 
at Horsitz, three or four, and at length I found a door open. 

372 HENRI IV.'S BAD LUCK [Jan. 25 

After making a few steps into the dark, I fell into a kind of pit. 
Luckily it was not deep, and I was able to satisfy myself that it 
was filled with horse-dung. I thought at first, ' How would it 
be to remain here,' — on the dung-heap, but I soon recognised 
other smells. What curious things happen sometimes ! If that 
pit had been twenty feet deep, and full, they would have had 
a long search next morning for their Minister, and doubtless 
there would be no Chancellor of the Confederation to-day. 
I went out again and finally found a corner for myself in an 
arcade on the market-place. I laid a couple of carriage cush- 
ions on the ground and made a pillow of a third, and then 
stretched myself out to sleep. Later on some one waked me. 
It was Perponcher, who told me that the Grand Duke of Meck- 
lenburg had a room for me and an unoccupied bed. That 
turned out to be correct, but the bed was only a child's cot. 
I managed to fix it, however, by arranging the back of a chair 
at the end of it. But in the morning I could hardly stand, as 
my knees had been resting on the bare boards." **One can 
sleep quite comfortably if one has only a sackful of straw, how- 
ever small. You cut it open in the middle, push the straw to 
the two ends, and let yourself into the hollow part. I used to 
do that in Russia when out hunting. I ripped the bag open 
with my hunting knife, crept into it and slept like a log." 
" That was when the despatch from Napoleon came," observed 
Bohlen. The Chief replied : " Yes, the one at which the King 
was so pleased, because it showed that he had won a great 
battle — his first great battle." "And you were also glad," 
said Bohlen, " and you swore an oath that you would one day 
requite the Gauls when an opportunity offered." . . . 

Finally the Chief related : " Favre told me the day before 
yesterday that the first shell that fell in the Pantheon cut off 
the head of the statue of Henri IV." " He doubtless thought 
that was a very pathetic piece of news," suggested Bohlen. 
" Oh, no," replied the Chief, " I rather fancy that, as a demo- 
crat, he was pleased that it should have happened to a King." 
Bohlen : " That is the second piece of bad luck that Henri has 
had in Paris. First a Frenchman stabbed him there, and now 
we have beheaded him." 

The dinner lasted very long this evening, from 5.30 till 
after 7. Favre was expected back from Paris every moment. 


He came at length at 7.30, again accompanied by his son-in-law 
with the Spanish name. It is understood that neither hesitated 
this time, as they did on the former occasion, to take the food 
that was offered to them, but, like sensible people, did justice 
to the good things that were laid before them. It is doubtless 
to be inferred from this that they have also listened to reason 
in the main point, or will do so. That will soon appear, as 
Favre is again conferring with the Chancellor. 

After dinner read drafts. Instructions have been sent to 
Rosenberg-Grudcinski at Reims respecting the collection of 
taxes. The Municipalities are to be called upon to pay five per 
cent, extra for each day of arrears. Flying columns with 
artillery are to be sent to districts where payment is obstinately 
refused. They arc to summon the inhabitants to pay up the 
taxes and if this is not done immediately to shell the place and 
set it on fire. Three examples would render a fourth unneces- 
sary. It is not our business to win over the French by con- 
siderate treatment or to take their welfare into account. On 
the contrary, in view of their character, it is desirable to inspire 
them with a greater fear of us than of their own Government, 
which, of course, also enforces compulsory measures against 
them. According to a report by the Minister of the Nether- 
lands to his Government, the Red Republicans in Paris at- 
tempted a rising the night before last, released some of their 
leaders, and then provoked a riot outside the Hotel de Ville. 
The National Guards fired upon the Mobiles, and there were 
some dead and wounded, but ultimately order was restored. 

About 10 o'clock, while Favre was still here, there was heavy 
firing from big guns, which continued for perhaps an hour. I 
went to tea at 10.30 p.m., and found Hatzfeld and Bismarck- 
Bohlen in conversation with Del Rio in the dining-room. He 
is a man of medium height, dark beard, slightly bald, and wears 
a pince-nez. Shortly after I came down, he left for his quarters 
at Stieber's house, accompanied by Mantey, and he was followed 
a quarter of an hour later by Favre. Del Rio spoke of Paris as 
being the ** centre du monde," so that the bombardment is a 
kind of target practice at the centre of the world. He men- 
tioned that Favre has a villa at Reuil and a large cellar in Paris 
with all sorts of wine, and that he himself has an estate in Mexico 
of six square German miles in extent. After Favre' s departure 


the Chief came out to us, ate some cold partridge, asked for 
some ham, and drank a bottle of beer. After a while he sighed, 
and sitting up straight in his chair he exclaimed : " If one could 
only decide and order these things oneself ! But to bring others 
to do it ! " He paused for a minute and then continued : "What 
surprises me is that they have not sent out any general. And 
it is difficult to make Favre understand military matters." He 
then mentioned a couple of French technical terms of which 
Favre did not know the meaning. "Well, it is to be hoped that 
he had a proper meal to-day," said Bohlen. The Chief replied 
in the affirmative, and then Bohlen said he had heard it rumoured 
that this time Favre had not despised the champagne. The 
Chief : " Yes, the day before yesterday he refused to take any, 
but to-day he had several glasses. The first time he had some 
scruples of conscience about eating, but I persuaded him, and 
his hunger doubtless supported me, for he ate like one who had 
had a long fast." 

Hatzfeld reported that the Mayor, Rameau, had called 
about an hour before and asked if M. Favre was here. He 
wanted to speak to him and to place himself at his disposal. 
Might he do so ? He, Hatzfeld, had replied that of course he 
did not know. The Chief : " For a man to come in the night to 
a person who is returning to Paris is sufficient of itself to bring 
him before a court-martial. The audacious fellow ! " Bohlen : 
'* Mantey has doubtless already told Stieber. Probably this 
M. Rameau is anxious to return to his cell." (Rameau was 
obliged some time since to study the interior of one of the cells 
in the prison in the Rue Saint Pierre for a few days in company 
with some other members of the corporation — if I am not mis- 
taken, on account of some refusal or some insolent reply about 
supplying provisions for Versailles.) 

The Minister then related some particulars of his interview 
with Favre. " I like him better now than at Ferri^res," he 
said. "He spoke a good deal and in long, well-rounded periods. 
It was often not necessary to pay attention or to answer. They 
were anecdotes of former times. He is a very good raconteur r 
" He was not at all offended at my recent letter to him. On the 
contrary, he felt indebted to me for calling his attention to what 
he owed to himself." " He also spoke of having a villa near Paris, 
which was, however, wrecked and pillaged. I had it on the tip 


of my tongue to say, * But not by us ! ' but he himself immedi- 
ately added that it had doubtless been done by the Mobiles." 
" He then complained that Saint Cloud had been burning for the 
last three days, and wanted to persuade me that we had set the 
palace there on fire." " In speaking of the franctireurs and their 
misdeeds, he wished to call my attention to our guerillas in 18 13 
— they indeed had been much worse. I said to him : * I don't 
want to deny that, but you are also aware that the French shot 
them whenever they caught them. And they did not shoot 
them all in one place, but one batch on the spot where the act 
was committed, another batch at the next halt, and so on, in 
order to serve as a deterrent.' " " He maintained that in the 
last engagement, on the 19th, the National Guard, recruited 
from the well-to-do classes, fought best, while the battalions 
raised from the lower classes were worthless." 

The Chief paused for a while and seemed to be reflecting. 
He then continued : " If the Parisians first received a supply of 
provisions and were then again put on half rations and once 
more obliged to starve, that ought, I think, to work. It is like 
flogging. When it is administered continuously it is not felt 
so much. But when it is suspended for a time and then an- 
other dose inflicted, it hurts ! I know that from the criminal 
court where I was employed. Flogging was still in use there." 

The subject of flogging in general was then discussed, and 
Bohlen, who favours its retention, observed that the English 
had re-introduced it. "Yes," said Bucher, "but first for per- 
sonal insult to the Queen, on the occasion of an outrage against 
the Royal person, and afterwards for garroting." The Chief 
then related that in 1863, when the garroters appeared in 
London, he was often obliged to go after twelve o'clock at 
night through a solitary lane, containing only stables and full of 
heaps of horse-dung, which led from Regent Street to his lodg- 
ings in Park Street. To his terror, he read in the papers that 
a number of these attacks had taken place on that very spot. 

Then, after a pause, the Minister said : " This is really an 
unheard-of proceeding on the part of the English. They want 
to send a gunboat up the Seine " (Odo Russell put forward this 
demand, which the Chancellor absolutely refused) "in order, 
they say, to remove the English families there. They merely 
want to ascertain if we have laid down torpedoes and then to let 


the French ships follow them. What swine! They are full 
of vexation and envy because we have fought great battles here 
— and won them. They cannot bear to think that shabby little 
Prussia should prosper so. The Prussians are a people who 
should merely exist in order to carry on war for them in their 
pay. This is the view taken by all the upper classes in Eng- 
land. They have never been well disposed towards us, and 
have always done their utmost to injure us." " The Crown 
Princess herself is an incarnation of this way of thinking. She 
is full of her own great condescension into marrying in our 
country. I remember her once telling me that two or three 
merchant families in Liverpool had more silver plate than the 
entire Prussian nobility. 'Yes,' I replied, 'that is possibly true, 
your Royal Highness, but we value ourselves for other things 
besides silver.' " 

The Minister remained silent for a while. Then he said : 
" I have often thought over what would have happened if we 
had gone to war about Luxemburg — should I now be in Paris 
or would the French be in Berlin ? I think I did well to pre- 
vent war at that time. We should not have been nearly so 
strong as we are to-day. At that time the Hanoverians would 
not have made trustworthy soldiers. I will say nothing about 
the Hessians — they would have done well. The Schleswig- 
Holstein men have now fought like lions, but there was no 
army there then. Saxony was also useless. The army had 
been disbanded and had to be recruited over again. And there 
was little confidence to be placed in the South Germans. The 
Wiirtembergers, what excellent fellows they are now, quite first 
rate ! But in 1 866 they would have been laughed at by every 
soldier as they marched into Frankfort like so many militiamen. 
The Baden troops were also not up to the mark. Beyer, and 
indeed the Grand Duke, has since then done a great deal for 
them." "It is true that public opinion throughout Germany 
would have been on our side had we wished to fight for Luxem- 
burg. But that was not enough to compensate for such defi- 
ciencies. Moreover, we had not right on our side. I have 
never confessed it publicly, but I can say it here : after the dis- 
solution of the Confederation the Grand Duke had become the 
sovereign of Luxemburg and could have done what he liked 
with the country. It would have been mean of him to part 

1871] A GRIM JOKE 377 

with it for money, but it was open to him to cede it to France. 
Our right of occupation was also not well founded. Properly 
speaking, after the dissolution of the Confederation we ought 
no longer to have occupied even Rastatt and Mayence. I said 
that in the Council — I had at that time yet another idea, 
namely, to hand over Luxemburg to Belgium. In that case we 
should have united it to a country on behalf of whose neutrality, 
as people then thought, England would intervene. That would 
also have strengthened the German element there against the 
French-speaking inhabitants, and at the same time have secured 
a good frontier. My proposal was not received with any 
favour, and it is just as well as it has turned out." 

Bismarck-Bohlen drew attention to a capital cartoon in 
Kladderadatsch : Napoleon waiting on the platform of the rail- 
way station and saying, ** They have already given the signal to 
start." He has put on an ermine cloak for his journey to Paris, 
and is carrying his portmanteau in his hand. The Chief, how- 
ever, observed : ** Doubtless he thinks so, and he may be right. 
But I fear he will miss the train. Yet, after all, there may be 
no other way left. He would be easier to convince than Favre. 
But he would always require half the army to maintain him on 
the throne." 

Thursday ^ January 26th. — The Chief drove off to see the 
King at 10.30 a.m. 

Herr Hans von Rochow and Count Lehndorff dined with us. 
The Chief talked about Favre : " He told me that on Sundays 
the boulevards are still full of fashionably dressed women with 
pretty children. I remarked to him, * I am surprised at that. 
I wonder you have not yet eaten them ! ' " As some one noticed 
that the firing was particularly heavy to-day, the Minister ob- 
served : " I remember in the criminal court we once had a 
subordinate official — I believe his name was Stepki — whose 
business it was to administer the floggings. He was accustomed 
to lay on the last three strokes with exceptional vigour — as 
a wholesome memento ! " The conversation then turned upon 
Stroussberg, whose bankruptcy was said to be imminent, and 
the Chief said : *' He once told me, ' I know I shall not even 
die in my own house.' But for the war, it would not have 
happened so soon, perhaps not at all. He always kept afloat 
by issuing new shares, and the game succeeded, although other 

3/8 THE DUG DE MORNY [Jan. 26 

Jews, who had made money before him, did their best to spoil 
it. But now comes the war, and his Rumanians have fallen 
lower and lower, so that at present one might ask how much 
they cost per hundredweight. For all that, he remains a clever 
man and indefatigable." The mention of Stroussberg's clever- 
ness and restless activity led on to Gambetta, who was said to 
have also ''made his five millions out of the war." But doubts 
were expressed on this point, and I believe rightly. After the 
Dictator of Bordeaux, it was Napoleon's turn to be discussed, 
and according to Bohlen, people said he had saved at least fifty 
miUions during the nineteen years of his reign. " Others say 
eighty millions," added the Chief, "but I doubt it. Louis 
Philippe spoiled the business. He had riots arranged, and 
then bought stocks on the Amsterdam Exchange, but at last 
business men saw through it." Hatzfeld or Keudell then ob- 
served that this resourceful monarch used to fall ill from time 
to time with a similar object. 

Morny was then spoken of as having been specially ingen- 
ious in making money in every possible way under the Empire. 
The Chief told us that " when Morny was appointed Ambas- 
sador to St. Petersburg he appeared with a whole collection of 
elegant carriages, some forty-three of them altogether, and all 
his chests, trunks, and boxes were full of laces, silks, and femi- 
nine finery, upon which, as Ambassador, he had to pay no 
customs duty. Every servant had his own carriage, and every 
attach^ and secretary had at least two. A few days after his 
arrival he sold off the whole lot by auction, clearing at least 
800,000 roubles. He was a thief, but an amiable one." The 
Chief then, pursuing the same subject and quoting further 
instances, continued : " For the matter of that, influential 
people in St. Petersburg understood this sort of business — not 
that they were willing to take money directly. But when a 
person wanted something, he went to a certain French shop, 
and bought expensive laces, gloves, or jewellery, perhaps for 
five or six thousand roubles. The shop was run on behalf of 
some official or his wife. This process repeated, say, twice a 
week, produced quite a respectable amount in the course of the 

Bohlen called out across the table : " Do, please, tell that 
lovely story about the Jew with the torn boots who got twenty- 

1871] A "LOVELY" STORY 379 

five lashes." The Chief: "It came about in this way. One 
day a Jew called at our Chancellerie declaring that he was 
penniless, and wanted to be sent back to Prussia. He was 
terribly tattered, and he had on in particular a pair of boots that 
showed his naked toes. He was told that he would be sent 
home, but then he wanted to get other boots, as it was so cold. 
He demanded them as a right, and became so forward and 
impudent, screaming and calling names, that our people did not 
know what to do with him. And the servants also could not 
trust themselves to deal with the furious creature. At length, 
when the row had become intolerable, I was called to render 
physical assistance. I told the man to be quiet or I would have 
him locked up. He answered defiantly : * You can't do that. 
You have no right whatever to do that in Russia ! ' * We shall 
see ! * I replied. ' I must send you home, but I am not called 
upon to give you boots, although perhaps I might have done so. 
But first you shall receive punishment for your abominable 
behaviour.' He then repeated that I could not touch him. 
Thereupon I opened the window and beckoned to a Russian 
policeman who was stationed a little way off. My Jew con- 
tinued to shriek and abuse us until the policeman, a tall stout 
man, came in. I said, * Take him with you — lock him up till 
to-morrow — twenty-five ! ' The big policeman took the little 
Jew with him, and locked him up. He came again next morn- 
ing quite transformed, very humble and submissive, and declared 
himself ready for the journey without new boots. I asked how 
he had got on in the interval. Badly, he said, very badly. 
But what had they done to him ? They had — well, they had 
— physically maltreated him. I thought that when he got 
home he would enter a complaint against me, or get his case 
into the newspapers — the Vo/ks Zeittmg^ or some such popu- 
lar organ. The Jews know how to make a row. But he must 
have decided otherwise, for nothing more was heard of him." 
When I came down to tea at 10.30 p.m., I found the Chief 
in conversation with the members of Parliament, Von Koller 
and Von Forckenbeck. The Minister was just saying that 
more money would soon be required. ** We did not want to 
ask more from the Reichstag," he said, "as we did not antici- 
pate that the war would last so long. I have written to Camp- 
hausen, but he suggests requisitions and contributions. They 


are very difficult to collect, as the immense area of country 
over which we are dispersed requires more troops than we can 
spare for purposes of coercion. Two million soldiers would be 
necessary to deal thoroughly with a territory of 12,000 German 
square miles. Besides, everything has grown dearer in conse- 
quence of the war. When we make a requisition we get 
nothing. When we pay cash there is always enough to be had 
in the market, and cheaper than in Germany. Here the bushel 
of oats costs four francs, and if it is brought from Germany six 
francs. I thought at first of getting the contributions of the 
different States paid in advance. But that would only amount 
to twenty millions, as Bavaria will keep her own accounts until 
1872. Another way out of the difficulty occurred to me, 
namely, to apply to our Diet for a sum on account. But we 
must first find out what Moltke proposes to extort from the 
Parisians, that is to say, from the city of Paris — for that is 
what we are dealing with for the present." Forckenbeck was 
of opinion that the Chief's plan would meet with no insur- 
mountable resistance in the Diet. It is true the doctrinaires 
would raise objections, and others would complain that Prussia 
should again have to come to the rescue and make sacrifices 
for the rest of the country, but in all probability the majority 
would go with the Government. Roller could confirm that 
opinion, which he did. 

Afterwards an officer of the dark blue hussars, a Count 
Arnim, who had just arrived from Le Mans, came in and gave 
us a great deal of interesting news. He said the inhabitants 
of the town appeared to be very sensible people who dis- 
approved of Gambetta's policy, and everywhere expressed their 
desire for peace. " Yes," replied the Chief, ** that is very good 
of the people, but how does it help us if with all their good 
sense they allow Gambetta, time after time, to stamp new 
armies of 150,000 men out of the ground?" Arnim having 
further related that they had again made great numbers of 
prisoners, the Minister exclaimed: "That is most unsatisfac- 
tory! What shall we do with them all in the end.? Why 
make so many prisoners ? Every one who makes prisoners 
ought to be tried by court-martial." This, like many other 
similar expressions, must doubtless not be taken literally, and 
applies only to the franctireurs. 


Friday, January 27th. — It is said that the bombardment 
ceased at midnight. It was to have recommenced at 6 o'clock 
this morning in case the Paris Government was not prepared 
to agree to our conditions for a truce. As it has ceased, the 
Parisians have doubtless yielded. But Gambetta .? 

Moltke arrives at 8.30 a.m., and remains in conference with 
the Chief for about three-quarters of an hour. The French- 
men put in an appearance shortly before 11. Favre (who has 
had his grey Radical beard clipped), with thick underlip, yellow 
complexion, and light grey eyes; General Beaufort d'Haut- 
poule, with his aide-de-camp, Calvel ; and Diirrbach, a ** Chief 
of the Engineers of the Eastern Railway." Beaufort is under- 
stood to have led the attack on the redoubt at Montretout on 
the 19th. Their negotiations with the Chief appear to have 
come to a speedy conclusion, or to have been broken off. 
Shortly after twelve o'clock, just as we sit down to lunch, they 
drive off again in the carriages that brought them here. Favre 
looks very depressed. The general is noticeably red in the 
face, and does not seem to be quite steady on his legs. Shortly 
after the French had gone the Chancellor came in to us and 
said : " I only want a breath of fresh air. Please do not dis- 
turb yourselves." Then, turning to Delbriick and shaking his 
head, he said : " There is nothing to be done with him. Men- 
tally incapable — drunk, I believe. I told him to think it over 
until half-past one. Perhaps he will have recovered by that 
time. Muddle-headed and ill-mannered. What is his name.? 
Something like Bouffre or Pauvre } " Keudell said : " Beau- 
fort." The Chief : ** A distinguished name, but not at all dis- 
tinguished manners." It appears, then, that the general has 
actually taken more than he was able to carry, perhaps in con- 
sequence of his natural capacity having been weakened by 

At lunch it was mentioned that on his way here, Forcken- 
beck saw the village of Fontenay still in flames. It had been 
fired by our troops as a punishment for the destruction of the 
railway bridges by the mutinous peasantry. Delbriick rejoiced 
with us " that at last adequate punishment had been once more 

In the afternoon we heard that the Chancellor drove off 
shortly before i o'clock, first to see the Emperor, and then to 


Moltke's, where he and Podbielski again met the Frenchmen. 
The latter afterwards left for Paris, about 4 o'clock, and will 
return to-morrow at noon for the purpose of completing the 

At dinner, the Chief, speaking of Beaufort, said he had be- 
haved like a man without any breeding. "He blustered and 
shouted and swore like a trooper, and with his * moi, general de 
I'armee fran^aise,' he was almost unendurable. Favre, who is 
not very well bred either, said to me : * J'en suis humilie ! ' Be- 
sides, he was not so very drunk ; it was, rather, his vulgar man- 
ners. At the General Staff they were of opinion that a man of 
that sort had been chosen in order that no arrangement should 
be come to. I said that, on the contrary, they had selected him 
because it did not matter for such a person to lose credit with 
the public by signing the capitulation." 

The Chief then continued : " I said to Favre during our last 
interview: *Vous avez ^t^ trahi — par la fortune.* He saw the 
point clearly, but only said : * A qui le dites-vous ! Dans trois 
fois vingt quatre heures je serai aussi compte au nombre des 
traitres.' He added that his position in Paris was very critical. 
I proposed to him : * Provoquez done une emeute pendant que 
vous avez encore une arm^e pour I'etouffer.' He looked at me 
quite terror-stricken, as if he wished to say. How bloodthirsty 
you are. I explained to him, however, that that was the only 
right way to manage the mob. Then, again, he has no idea 
of how things are with us. He mentioned several times that 
France was the land of liberty, while Germany was governed 
by a despotism. I told him, for instance, that we wanted 
money and that Paris must supply some. He suggested that 
we should raise a loan. I replied that that could not be done 
without the approval of the Diet. *Ah,' he said, *you can 
surely get five hundred million francs without the Chamber.' 
I answered : * No, not five francs.' But he would not believe it. 
I told him that I had been at loggerheads with the popular 
representatives for four whole years, but that the raising of a 
loan without the Diet was the limit to which I went, and which 
it never occurred to me to overstep. That seemed to disconcert 
him somewhat, but he only said that in France * on ne se gene- 
rait pas,' And yet he returned afterwards to the immense 
freedom which they enjoy in France. It is really funny to hear 


a Frenchman talk in that way, and particularly Favre, who has 
always been a member of the Opposition. But that's their way. 
You can give a Frenchman twenty-five lashes, and if you only 
make a fine speech to him about the freedom and dignity of 
man of which those lashes are the expression, and at the same 
time strike a fitting attitude, he will persuade himself that he is 
not being thrashed." 

" Ah, Keudell," said the Chief suddenly, " it just occurs to 
me. I must have my full powers drawn up for to-morrow, of 
course in German. The German Emperor must only write Ger- 
man. The Minister can be guided by circumstances. Oflftcial 
communications must be written in the language of the country, 
not in a foreign tongue. Bernstorff was the first to try to intro- 
duce that system in our case, but he went too far with it. He 
wrote to all the diplomatists in German, and they replied, of 
course by agreement, each in his own language, Russian, Span- 
ish, Swedish, and what not, so that he had to have a whole 
army of translators in the office. That was how I found mat- 
ters when I came into power. Budberg (the Russian Ambassa- 
dor in Berlin) sent me a note in Russian. That was too much 
for me. If they wanted to have their revenge Gortchakoff 
should have written in Russian to our Ambassador in St. Peters- 
burg. That would have been the right way. It is only fair to 
ask that the representatives of foreign countries should under- 
stand and speak the language of the State to which they are 
accredited. But it was unfair to send me in Berlin a reply in 
Russian to a note in German. I decided that all communica- 
tions received in other languages than German, French, Eng- 
lish, and Italian should be left unnoticed and put away in the 
archives. Budberg then wrote screed after screed, always in 
Russian. No answer was returned and the documents were all 
laid by with the State papers. At last he came himself and 
asked why he had received no reply. ' Reply ! ' I exclaimed. 
*To what.?' Why, he had written a month ago and had after- 
wards sent me several reminders. * Ah, quite so ! ' I said. 
* There is a great pile of documents in Russian downstairs, and 
yours are probably amongst them. But we have no one who 
understands Russian, and I have given instructions for all doc- 
uments written in a language we do not understand to be put 
away in the archives.' It was then arranged that Budberg 


should write in French, and the Foreign Office also when it 
suited them." 

The Chief then talked about the French negotiators and 
said : " M. Diirrbach introduced himself as ' membre de I'admin- 
istration du Chemin de fer de TEst; j'y suisbeaucoup int6ress6.* 
— If he only knew what we intend." (Probably the cession of 
the Eastern Railway.) Hatzfeld : " He threw up his hands in 
dismay when the General Staff pointed out to him on the map 
the tunnels, bridges, &c., destroyed by the French themselves. 
' I have always been against that,' he said, * and I pointed out 
to them that a bridge could be repaired in three hours — but 
they would not listen to me.' " The Chief : " Repaired after 
a fashion, certainly, but not a railway bridge capable of carry- 
ing a train. They will find it hard now to bring up provisions 
to Paris, particularly if they have committed the same stupid 
destruction in the west. I think they rely upon drawing sup- 
pHes from Brittany and Normandy, where there are large flocks 
of sheep, and from the ports. To my knowledge there are 
plenty of bridges and tunnels in those parts too, and if they 
have destroyed them they will find themselves in great straits. 
I hope, moreover, that people in London will only send them 
hams and not bread ! " 

Saturday, January 2^th. — At 11 o'clock the French negotia- 
tors again arrived — Favre, Diirrbach, and two others, who are 
understood to be also leading railway officials ; and two officers, 
another general, and an aide-de-camp, both men with a good 
presence. They take lunch with us. Then follows a lengthy 
negotiation at Moltke's lodgings. The Chief afterwards dictates 
to the Secretaries Willisch and Saint Blanquart the treaties of 
capitulation and armistice, which are drawn up in duplicate. 
They are afterwards signed and sealed by Bismarck and Favre, 
at twenty minutes past seven, in the green room next to the 
Minister's study upstairs. 

The Frenchmen dined with us. The general (Valden is his 
name) ate little and hardly spoke at all. Favre was also de- 
jected and taciturn. The aide-de-camp, M. d'Herisson, did not 
appear to be so much affected, and the railway officials, after 
their long privations, devoted themselves with considerable 
gusto to the pleasures of the table. According to what I can 
gather from the latter they have, as a matter of fact, been on 


very short commons in Paris for some time past, and the death 
rate last week amounted to about five thousand. The mortality 
was especially heavy amongst children up to two years of age, 
and coffins for these tiny French citizens were to be seen in all 
directions. Delbriick declared afterwards that " Favre and the 
General looked like two condemned prisoners who were going 
to the gallows next morning. I pitied them." 

Keudel expects that peace will soon be concluded and that 
wc shall be back in Berlin within a month. Shortly before 
10 o'clock a bearded gentleman, apparently about forty-five, who 
gave his name as Duparc, called and was immediately con- 
ducted to the Chief, with whom he spent about two hours. He 
is understood to be the former French Minister Duvernois, 
coming from Wilhelmshohe with proposals for peace. The 
capitulation and armistice do not yet mean the end of the war 
with France. 

Sunday^ January 2gtk. — Our troops moved forward to 
occupy the forts. In the morning read despatches respecting 
the London Conference, and other subjects, as well as the 
treaties for the armistice and capitulation signed yesterday. 
Bernstorff reported that Musurus became very violent at one 
of the sittings of the Conference. He could not conceive why 
the stipulation closing the Dardanelles against Russian men- 
of-war should not be worded in an indirect and therefore less 
offensive form for Russia, and at the same time quite as accept- 
able to the Porte. From another of Bernstorff's despatches the 
Chief appears to have hinted that Napoleon should not miss 
the right moment. It is also stated that Palikao, who was of 
the same opinion, thought it would be dangerous to agree 
in the capitulation to leave the National Guard under arms. 
Vinoy and Ronciere, being in favour of the Emperor, would 
doubtless be the right men to assume command of the troops 
in the city. 

Our copy of the capitulation fills ten folio pages, and is 
stitched together with silk in the French colours, on the end of 
which Favre has impressed his seal. 

We were joined at lunch by Count Henckel, who has been 
appointed Prefect at Metz. He maintained that in about five 
years the elections in his department would be favourable to 
the Government ; indeed, he was confident even now of being 

VOL. I. — 2 C 


able to bring about that result. In Alsace, however, the pros- 
pect was not so good, as Germans are not so docile to authority 
as the French. He also mentioned that his department had 
really suffered severely. At the commencement of the war it 
had some thirty-two to thirty-five thousand horses, and now he 
believed there were not more than five thousand left. 

Before dinner I read further drafts, including a memoran- 
dum, in which the Chief explained to the King that it was im- 
possible to demand from Favre, after the conclusion of the 
capitulation, the surrender of the flags of the French regiments 
in Paris. 

We were joined at dinner by Count Henckel and the French 
aide-de-camp who was here yesterday. The latter, whose full 
name is d'H^risson de Saulnier, wore a black hussar uniform, 
with yellow shoulder-straps and embroidery on the sleeves. He 
is said to understand and speak German, yet the conversation, 
into which the Chief entered with zest, was for the most part 
carried on in French. In the absence of Favre and the General 
(the former was still in the house, but as he was very busy he 
had his dinner sent up to him in the small drawing-room) the 
aide-de-camp was more lively and amusing than yesterday. He 
bore the whole burden of the conversation for a considerable 
time, with a series of droll anecdotes. The scarcity of food in 
the city had become of late very painfully perceptible, but his 
experience would appear to have been more with the amusing, 
than with the serious, side of the question. He said that for 
him the most interesting period of their fast was " while they 
were eating up the Jardin des Plantes." Elephant meat cost 
twenty francs per kilogramme and tasted like coarse beef, and 
they had really had "filets de chameau " and "c6telettes de 
tigre." A dog flesh market was held in the Rue Saint Honors, 
the price being two francs fifty per kilo. There were hardly 
any more dogs to be seen in Paris, and whenever people caught 
sight of one, they immediately hunted it down. It was the 
same with cats. If a pigeon alighted on a roof a view holloa 
was at once raised in the street Only the carrier pigeons were 
spared. The despatches were fastened in the middle of their 
tail feathers, of which they ought to have nine. If one of them 
happened to have only eight, they said : " Ce n'est qu'un civil " 
and it had to go the way of all flesh. A lady is said to have 


remarked : " Jamais je ne mangerai plus de pigeon, car je croi- 
rais toujours avoir mange un facteur." 

In return for these and other stories the Chief related a 
number of things which were not yet known in the drawing- 
rooms and clubs of Paris, and which people there might be glad 
to hear, as for instance the shabby behaviour of Rothschild at 
Ferrieres, and the way in which the Elector of Hesse trans- 
formed Rothschild's grandfather Amschel from a little Jew into 
a great one. The Chancellor repeatedly referred to the latter 
as the " Juif de cour," and afterwards gave a description of the 
domesticated Jews of the Polish nobility. 

On Bohlen reporting later on that he had, in accordance with 
instructions, sent certain papers to "the Emperor," the Chief 
observed : " The Emperor .•* I envy those to whom the new title 
already comes so trippingly." Abeken returned from his 
Majesty's and announced that "The matter of the flags was 
settled." The Chief : " Have you also fired off my revolver 
letter ? " Abeken : " Yes, Excellency, it has been discharged." 

After dinner read drafts and reports, amongst the latter a 
very interesting one in which Russia advises us to leave Metz 
and German Lorraine to the French, and to annex a neighbour- 
ing piece of territory instead. According to a recent despatch 
from St. Petersburg, Gortchakoff has suggested that Germany 
might take Luxemburg and leave the French a corresponding 
portion of Lorraine. The geographical position of the Grand 
Duchy indicated that it should form part of Germany, and 
Prince Henry, who is devotedly attached to his separate Court, 
alone stood in the way. King William wrote on the margin of 
the despatch that this suggestion was to be absolutely rejected. 
The Chief then replied as follows : " The future position of 
Luxemburg would, it is true, be an unpleasant one — not for us, 
but rather for the Grand Duchy itself. We must not, however, 
exercise any compulsion, nor take the property of others. We 
must, therefore, adhere to the programme communicated five 
months ago to St. Petersburg, especially as we have since then 
made great sacrifices. The realisation of that programme is 
indispensable for the security of Germany. We must have Metz. 
The German people would not tolerate any alteration of the 

Favre did not leave till 10.15 p.m., and then not for Paris, 


but for his quarters here in the Boulevard du Roi. He will 
come again to-morrow at noon. 

The Chief afterwards joined us at tea. In speaking of the 
capitulation and the armistice, Bohlen asked : " But what if the 
others do not agree — Gambettaand the Prefects in the south ?'* 
" Well, in that case we have the forts which give us the control 
of the city," replied the Chief. " The King also could not 
understand that, and inquired what was to happen if the people 
at Bordeaux did not ratify the arrangement. * Well,' I replied, 
* then we remain in the forts and keep the Parisians shut up, 
and perhaps in that case we may refuse to prolong the armistice 
on the 19th of February.' In the meantime they have delivered 
up their arms, and they must pay the contribution. Those who 
have given a material pledge under a treaty are all the worse off 
if they cannot fulfil its conditions." 

Favre had, it seems, confessed to the Chief that he had pro- 
ceeded '' un peu t^merairement " in the matter of the revictual- 
ling of Paris. He really did not know whether he would be 
able to provide in good time for the hundreds of thousands in 
the city. Somebody observed : ** In case of necessity Stosch 
could supply them with live-stock and flour." The Chief: 
"Yes, so long as he can do so without injury to ourselves.** 
Bismarck-Bohlen was of opinion that we need not give them 
anything; let them see for themselves where they could get 
supplies, &c. The Chief: "Well, then, you would let them 
starve .? " Bohlen : " Certainly." The Chief : " But then how 
are we to get our contribution ? " 

Later on the Minister said : " Business of State, negotiations 
with the enemy, do not irritate me. Their objections to my 
ideas and demands, even when they are unreasonable, leave me 
quite cool. But the petty grumbling and meddling of the 
military authorities in political questions, and their ignorance of 
what is possible and not possible in such matters ! One of them 
comes and wants this, another one that, and when you have got 
rid of the first two, a third one turns up — an aide-de-camp or 
aide-de-camp general — who says : ' But, your Excellency, surely 
that is impossible,' or ' We must have this too in addition, else 
we shall be in danger of our lives.' And yesterday they went 
so far as to insist that a condition {i.e., for the surrender of the 
flags), which was not mentioned in the negotiations, should be 


introduced into a document that was already signed. I said to 
them, however: 'We have committed many a crime in this war 

— but falsification of deeds! No, gentlemen, really that cannot 
be done.' " 

* Bernstorff, it was mentioned, reports that he had informed 
the Conference that from this time forward he represented the 
German Empire and Emperor; and that the other members 
received this announcement with approval. Thereupon the 
Chief remarked : " Bernstorff is after all a man who has had 
business experience. How can he do such things ? His wife 

— what's her name.-* Augusta — no, Anna — will have a fine 
opinion of herself now. Imperial Ambassadress ! I cannot 
lay much store by such titles. A prosperous and powerful 
King is better than a weak Emperor, and a rich Baron better 
than a poor Count." " Such an Emperor as that of Brazil or 
Mexico ! " " With a salary of 800,000 florins," interjected Hol- 
stein. The Chief : " Well, that would be enough to get on 
with. They require no firing and no winter clothes." 

Hatzfeld mentioned that a Spanish secretary of embassy 
had called. He had come from Bordeaux and wanted to enter 
Paris in order to bring away his countrymen. He also had a 
letter from Chaudordy for Favre, and was in great haste. 
What answer should be given to him ? The Chief stooped 
down a little over the table, then sat bold upright again, and 
said : " Attempting to carry a despatch from one member of the 
enemy's Government to another through our lines — that is a 
case exactly suited for a court-martial. When he comes back 
you will treat the matter in a very serious way: receive him 
coolly, look surprised, and say that we must complain to 
the new King of Spain with regard to such a breach of neu- 
trality and demand satisfaction. Besides, I am astonished that 
Stiehle should have let the fellow pass. These soldiers always 
pay too much deference to diplomats. And even if he had 
been an ambassador, Metternich for instance, he should 
have been turned back even if had to freeze and starve in 
consequence. Indeed, such carrier service borders closely on 

The rush of people to and out of Paris that was now to be 
apprehended then came up for discussion. The Chief: "Well, 
the French will not let so very many out, and we shall only let 


those pass who have a permit from the authorities inside, and 
perhaps not all of those." 

Some one said that Rothschild, who had been supplied with 
a safe-conduct, wanted to come out ; upon which the Chief : " It 
would be well to detain him — as a f ranctireur, and include him 
amongst the prisoners of war. (To Keudell :) Just inquire into 
the matter. I mean it seriously." Bohlen exclaimed: "Then 
Bleichroder will come rushing over here and prostrate himself 
in the name of all the Rothschild family." The Chief : ** In 
that case we will send him in to join them in Paris, where he 
can have his share of the dog hunting." 

Astonishment was then expressed that the Daily Telegraph 
should have already published a detailed epitome of the con- 
vention signed yesterday, and in this connection Stieber, Favre's 
fellow-lodger, was mentioned. The English correspondent had 
acknowledged, according to Bucher, that he had received the 
news from Stieber, and the Minister added : " I am convinced 
that Stieber opened Favre's writing desk with a picklock, and 
then made extracts from his papers which he gave to the Eng- 
lishman." This is scarcely probable, as Stieber's knowledge of 
French is inadequate for that purpose. He much more prob- 
ably received the news from his patron Bohlen, or perhaps from 
some officer who heard it from the General Staff, who — as the 
Chancellor recently remarked — "are very obliging and com- 
municative in such matters." 

Monday, January y:ith. — Favre and other Frenchmen, in- 
cluding the Chief or Prefect of the Paris police, were busily 
engaged with the Chief during the afternoon, and dined with 
him at 5.30 p.m. The secretaries and I were to go to the Hotel